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The Unequal Benefits of Fuel Subsidies: A Review of Evidence for Developing Countries

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  • Arze del Granado, Francisco Javier
  • Coady, David
  • Gillingham, Robert

Abstract

This paper reviews evidence on the impact of fuel subsidy reform on household welfare in developing countries. On average, the burden of subsidy reform is substantial and is approximately neutrally distributed across income groups; a $0.25 decrease in the per liter subsidy results in a 5% decrease in income for all groups. More than half of this impact arises from the indirect impact on prices of other goods and services consumed by households. Fuel subsidies are a costly approach to protecting the poor due to substantial benefit leakage to higher income groups; in absolute terms, the top income quintile captures six times more in subsidies than the bottom.

Suggested Citation

  • Arze del Granado, Francisco Javier & Coady, David & Gillingham, Robert, 2012. "The Unequal Benefits of Fuel Subsidies: A Review of Evidence for Developing Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(11), pages 2234-2248.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:40:y:2012:i:11:p:2234-2248
    DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2012.05.005
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Dominique M. Guillaume & Roman Zytek & Mohammad Reza Farzin, 2011. "Iran; The Chronicles of the Subsidy Reform," IMF Working Papers 11/167, International Monetary Fund.
    2. John M. Piotrowski & David Coady & Justin Tyson & Rolando Ossowski & Robert Gillingham & Shamsuddin Tareq, 2010. "Petroleum Product Subsidies; Costly, Inequitable, and On the Rise," IMF Staff Position Notes 2010/05, International Monetary Fund.
    3. Benedict CLEMENTS & Hong-Sang JUNG & Sanjeev GUPTA, 2007. "Real And Distributive Effects Of Petroleum Price Liberalization: The Case Of Indonesia," The Developing Economies, Institute of Developing Economies, vol. 45(2), pages 220-237.
    4. Sanjeev Gupta & Benedict J. Clements & Kevin Fletcher & Gabriela Inchauste, 2002. "Issues in Domestic Petroleum Pricing in Oil-Producing Countries," IMF Working Papers 02/140, International Monetary Fund.
    5. Benedict F. W. Bingham & James Daniel & Giulio Federico, 2001. "Domestic Petroleum Price Smoothing in Developing and Transition Countries," IMF Working Papers 01/75, International Monetary Fund.
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