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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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  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:popdev:v:35:y:2009:i:4:p:721-748
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    1. Nora Lustig & Florencia Amábile & Marisa Bucheli & George Gray Molina & Sean Higgins & Miguel Jaramillo & Wilson Jiménez Pozo & Veronica Paz Arauco & Claudiney Pereira & Carola Pessino & Máximo Rossi , 2014. "El impacto del sistema tributario y del gasto social sobre la desigualdad y la pobreza en Argentina, Bolivia, Brasil, México, Perú y Uruguay: Un panorama general," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 1313S, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    2. Barrientos, Armando, 2011. "On the Distributional Implications of Social Protection Reforms in Latin America," WIDER Working Paper Series 069, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    3. Richard M. Bird & Eric M. Zolt, 2014. "Taxation and inequality in the Americas: Changing the fiscal contract?," Chapters,in: Taxation and Development: The Weakest Link?, chapter 7, pages 193-237 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. José Cuesta & Lucia Madrigal, 2014. "Equity in Education Expenditure in Thailand," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 32(2), pages 239-258, March.
    5. Nora Lustig, 2016. "El Impacto del Sistema Tributario y el Gasto Social en la Distribución del Ingreso y la Pobreza en América Latina: Argentina, Bolivia, Brasil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica Ecuador, El Salvador, Guate," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 37, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    6. Goñi, Edwin & Humberto López, J. & Servén, Luis, 2011. "Fiscal Redistribution and Income Inequality in Latin America," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(9), pages 1558-1569, September.
    7. Nora Lustig, 2011. "Commitment to Equity Assessment (CEQ) A Diagnostic Framework to Assess Governments' Fiscal Policies Handbook," Working Papers 1119, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    8. World Bank, 2010. "Uruguay - Equality of Opportunity : Achievements and Challenges," World Bank Other Operational Studies 2985, The World Bank.
    9. Nora Lustig & Florencia Amábile & Marisa Bucheli & George Gray Molina & Sean Higgins & Miguel Jaramillo & Wilson Jiménez Pozo & Veronica Paz Arauco & Claudiney Pereira & Carola Pessino & Máximo Rossi , 2014. "El impacto del sistema tributario y del gasto social sobre la desigualdad y la pobreza en Argentina, Bolivia, Brasil, México, Perú y Uruguay: Un panorama general," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 1313S, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    10. Nora Lustig & Florencia Amábile & Marisa Bucheli & George Gray Molina & Sean Higgins & Miguel Jaramillo & Wilson Jiménez Pozo & Veronica Paz Arauco & Claudiney Pereira & Carola Pessino & Máximo Rossi , 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.
    11. Nora Lustig & Rodrigo Aranda, 2015. "El Impacto de los Impuestos y las Transferencias en la Pobreza y la Desigualdad Rural-Urbana en Bolivia, Brasil, Guatemala, México y Perú," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 32, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    12. Cornia, Giovanni Andrea & Martorano, Bruno, 2011. "A New Fiscal Pact, Tax Policy Changes and Income Inequality," WIDER Working Paper Series 070, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    13. 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.
    14. 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.
    15. Lustig, Nora & Gray Molina, George & Higgins, Sean & Jaramillo, Miguel & Jiménez, Wilson & Paz, Verónica & Pereira, Claudiney & Pessino, Carola & Scott, John & Yáñez, Ernesto, 2012. "The impact of taxes and social spending on inequality and poverty in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Mexico and Peru: a synthesis of results," Research Department working papers 234, CAF Development Bank Of Latinamerica.
    16. Bird, Richard M. & Zolt, Eric M., 2015. "Fiscal Contracting in Latin America," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 323-335.
    17. 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, 2014. "El impacto del sistema tributario y del gasto social sobre la desigualdad y la pobreza en Argentina, Bolivia, Brasil, México, Perú y Uruguay: Un panorama general," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 13S, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    18. Nora Lustig, 2017. "El Impacto del Sistema Tributario y el Gasto Social en la Distribución del Ingreso y la Pobreza en América Latina. Una Aplicación del Marco Metodológico del Proyecto Compromiso con la Equidad (CEQ," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 62, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    19. Nora Lustig, 2016. "El Impacto del Sistema Tributario y el Gasto Social en la Distribución del Ingreso y la Pobreza en América Latina: Argentina, Bolivia, Brasil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatema," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 1337, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    20. Lavinas, Lena. & Moellmann Ferro, Thiago Andrade., 2014. "A long way from tax justice : the Brazilian case," ILO Working Papers 994851303402676, International Labour Organization.
    21. -, 2011. "Social Panorama of Latin America 2010," Panorama Social de América Latina, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), number 1237 edited by Eclac, December.

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