In January 2018, soon after he was elected President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte signed a comprehensive tax reform bill. In this paper, a nationwide survey and embedded experiment are used to investigate how ordinary Filipino citizens responded to different possible changes in tax incidence originating in the reform. The survey was conducted a few days prior to the enactment of the legislation. Our survey experiment yielded two noteworthy findings. First, Filipino citizens' interest in gathering information about the government budget and its usage increased when they were explicitly reminded of the possibility that the reform would change their tax burden; importantly, this occurred whether they expected their taxes to increase or decrease. Second, lower class citizens were more motivated than upper class citizens to monitor government when faced with the prospect of major tax burden changes. These findings not only shed light on how ordinary citizens in the Philippines reacted to the impending historic tax reform, but also reveal limits of the conventional fiscal contract conception of the link between taxation and accountability.
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