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Latin America and the Social Contract: Patterns of Social Spending and Taxation

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  • Karla Breceda
  • Jamele Rigolini
  • Jaime Saavedra

Abstract

This article analyzes the incidence of social spending and taxation by income quintile for seven Latin American countries, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Absolute levels of social spending in Latin America are fairly flat across income quintiles, a pattern similar to that in the United States and differing from the more progressive pattern of spending in the United Kingdom. The structure of taxation in Latin America is also similar to that of the United States. Because of high income inequality in Latin America and the US, the rich bear of most the burden, whereas the United Kingdom taxes the middle class to a greater extent. The analysis suggests that many Latin American countries are trapped in a vicious cycle in which the rich resist the expansion of the welfare state (because they bear most of its tax burden without receiving commensurate benefits), and their opposition to its expansion in turn maintains long-term inequalities. Copyright (c) 2009 The Population Council, Inc..

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by The Population Council, Inc. in its journal Population and Development Review.

Volume (Year): 35 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 721-748

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Handle: RePEc:bla:popdev:v:35:y:2009:i:4:p:721-748

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Cited by:
  1. Nora Lustig, 2011. "Fiscal policy and income redistribution in Latin America: Challenging the conventional wisdom," Working Papers 227, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  2. Nora Lustig, 2011. "Commitment to Equity Assessment (CEQ): A Diagnostic Framework to Assess Governments' Fiscal Policies Handbook," Working Papers 1122, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
  3. Barrientos, Armando, 2011. "On the Distributional Implications of Social Protection Reforms in Latin America," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  4. Nora Lustig, George Gray-Molina, Sean Higgins, Miguel Jaramillo, Wilson Jiménez, Veronica Paz, Claudiney Pereira, Carola Pessino, John Scott, and Ernesto Yañez, 2012. "The Impact of Taxes and Social Spending on Inequality and Poverty in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Mexico, and Peru: A Synthesis of Results," Working Papers 311, Center for Global Development.
  5. Nora Lustig & Florencia Amábile & Marisa Bucheli & George Gray Molina & Sean Higgins & Miguel Jaramillo & Wilson Jiménez Pozo & Veronica Paz Arauco & Claudiney Pereira & Carola Pessino & Máximo Ros, 2013. "The impact of taxes and social spending on inequality and poverty in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay: An overview," Working Papers 315, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  6. World Bank, 2010. "Uruguay - Equality of Opportunity : Achievements and Challenges," World Bank Other Operational Studies 2985, The World Bank.
  7. Goni, Edwin & Lopez, J. Humberto & Serven, Luis, 2008. "Fiscal redistribution and income inequality in Latin America," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4487, The World Bank.
  8. Roberto Dell’Anno, 2010. "Institutions and human development in the Latin American informal economy," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 21(3), pages 207-230, September.
  9. Giovanni Andrea Cornia & Juan Carlos Gómez-Sabaini & Bruno Martorano, 2012. "A New Fiscal Pact, Tax Policy Changes and Income Inequality," Working Papers - Economics wp2012_03.rdf, Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze per l'Economia e l'Impresa.
  10. Cuesta, Jose & Kabaso, Pamela & Suarez-Becerra, Pablo, 2012. "How pro-poor and progressive is social spending in Zambia ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6052, The World Bank.

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