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The Impact of Taxes and Social Spending on Inequality and Poverty in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay: An Overview

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Author Info

  • Nora Lustig

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Tulane University)

  • Carola Pessino

    ()
    (School of Government and Executive Director, Centro de Investigaciones y Evaluación en Economía Social para el Alivio de la Pobreza, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella, Buenos Aires, Argentina)

  • John Scott

    ()
    (CIDE (Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas), Mexico and,Consejero Académico, CONEVAL (Consejo Nacional de Evaluación de la Política de Desarrollo Social), Mexico)

Abstract

How much redistribution and poverty reduction is being accomplished in Latin America through social spending and taxes? Standard fiscal incidence analyses applied to Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay yield the following results. Direct taxes and cash transfers reduce inequality and poverty by nontrivial amounts in Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay, less so in Mexico and relatively little in Bolivia and Peru. While direct taxes are progressive, the redistributive impact is small because direct taxes as a share of GDP are low. Cash transfers are quite progressive in absolute terms except in Bolivia where programs are not targeted to the poor. In Bolivia and Brazil, indirect taxes almost completely offset the poverty-reducing impact of cash transfers. In-kind transfers in education and health reduce inequality in all countries by considerably more than cash transfers.

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File URL: http://econ.tulane.edu/RePEc/pdf/tul1313.pdf
File Function: First Version, April 2013
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tulane University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1313.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tul:wpaper:1313

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Keywords: fiscal incidence; inequality; poverty; taxes; social spending; Latin America;

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References

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  1. Blanca Moreno-Dodson & Quentin Wodon, 2008. "Public Finance for Poverty Reduction : Concepts and Case Studies from Africa and Latin America," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6881, August.
  2. Nora Lustig & Luis F. Lopez-Calva & Eduardo Ortiz-Juarez, 2012. "Declining Inequality in Latin America in the 2000s: the Cases of Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico," Working Papers 266, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  3. Marisa Bucheli & Nora Lustig & Máximo Rossi & Florencia Amábile, 2012. "Social Spending, Taxes and Income Redistribution in Uruguay," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 1212, Department of Economics - dECON.
  4. Immervoll, Herwig & Levy, Horacio & Nogueira, José Ricardo & O'Donoghue, Cathal & Siqueira, Rozane Bezerra de, 2006. "The Impact of Brazil's Tax-Benefit System on Inequality and Poverty," IZA Discussion Papers 2114, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Owen O'Donnell & Eddy van Doorslaer & Adam Wagstaff & Magnus Lindelow, 2008. "Analyzing Health Equity Using Household Survey Data : A Guide to Techniques and Their Implementation," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6896, August.
  6. Francisco H.G. Ferreira & Julian Messina & Jamele Rigolini & Luis-Felipe López-Calva & Maria Ana Lugo & Renos Vakis, 2013. "Economic Mobility and the Rise of the Latin American Middle Class," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 11858, August.
  7. Nora Lustig & George Gray-Molina & Sean Higgins & Miguel Jaramillo & Wilson Jiménez & Veronica Paz & Claudiney Pereira & Carola Pessino & John Scott & 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 264, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  8. Karla Breceda & Jamele Rigolini & Jaime Saavedra, 2009. "Latin America and the Social Contract: Patterns of Social Spending and Taxation," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 35(4), pages 721-748.
  9. Nora Lustig & Sean Higgins, 2012. "Commitment to Equity Assessment (CEQ): Estimating the Incidence of Social Spending, Subsidies and Taxes Handbook," Working Papers 1219, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
  10. Kakwani, Nanok C, 1977. "Measurement of Tax Progressivity: An International Comparison," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 87(345), pages 71-80, March.
  11. Nora Lustig & Carola Pessino, 2013. "Social Spending and Income Redistribution in Argentina during the 2000s: The Rising Role of Noncontributory Pensions," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 1305, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
  12. 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.
  13. Wagstaff, Adam, 2010. "Benefit incidence analysis : are government health expenditures more pro-rich than we think ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5234, The World Bank.
  14. Sean Higgins & Nora Lustig & Julio Ramirez & Billy Swanson, 2013. "Social Spending, Taxes and Income Redistribution in Paraguay," Working Papers 1311, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
  15. Jorge Martinez-Vazquez, 2001. "The Impact of Budgets on the Poor: Tax and Benefit," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0110, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Sean Higgins & Nora Lustig & Whitney Ruble & Timothy Smeeding, 2013. "Comparing the Incidence of Taxes and Social Spending in Brazil and the United States," Working Papers 1317, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
  2. Marisa Bucheli & Nora Lustig & Maximo Rossi & Florencia Amabile, 2012. "Social Spending, Taxes and Income Redistribution in Uruguay," Working Papers 1217, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
  3. Nora Lustig & Carola Pessino & John Scott, 2013. "The Impact of Taxes and Social Spending on Inequality and Poverty in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay: An Overview," Working Papers 1313, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
  4. Arjan de Haan, 2013. "The Social Policies of Emerging Economies: Growth and Welfare in China and India," Working Papers 110, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.
  5. Nora Lustig & Carola Pessino, 2012. "Social Spending and Income Redistribution in Argentina During the 2000s: the Rising Role of Noncontributory Pensions," Working Papers 1221, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
  6. Nancy Birdsall, Nora Lustig, Christian Meyer, 2013. "The Strugglers: The New Poor in Latin America?-Working Paper 337," Working Papers 337, Center for Global Development.
  7. Arjan de Haan, 2013. "Why Emerging Economies Need Social Policy: the Cases of China and India," One Pager 201, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.

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