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A New Fiscal Pact, Tax Policy Changes and Income Inequality

The paper analyses the changes in tax policy, tax/GDP ratios, tax incidence and income inequality which have taken place in Latin America during the last decade against the background of the changes observed in these variables during the liberal years of the 1980s and 1990s. The paper argues that the recent tax policy changes and a favourable external environment led to an increase of about three points in the regional tax/GDP ratio, that such increase in taxation took place in a slightly or substantially more progressive way than in the past, that the Gini coefficient of the distribution of household income improved on average by 0.4-0.8 points, and that, as a result, redistribution via taxation improved (especially in the Southern Cone) in relation to the 1990s thanks to greater reliance on direct taxes and a reduction in excises. However, in the mid-late 2000s taxation remains unequalizing in about a third of the countries of the region, especially in Central America. The paper concludes by offering recommendations on how the new fiscal pact evolving in the region can be strengthened to improve the redistributive effect of taxation in the years ahead.

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Paper provided by Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze per l'Economia e l'Impresa in its series Working Papers - Economics with number wp2012_03.rdf.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:frz:wpaper:wp2012_03.rdf
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  1. Giovanni Andrea cornia, 2009. "Income Distribution under Latin America’s New Left Regimes," Working Papers - Economics wp2009_16.rdf, Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze per l'Economia e l'Impresa.
  2. Engel, Eduardo M. R. A. & Galetovic, Alexander & Raddatz, Claudio E., 1999. "Taxes and income distribution in Chile: some unpleasant redistributive arithmetic," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 155-192, June.
  3. Kneller, Richard & Bleaney, Michael F. & Gemmell, Norman, 1999. "Fiscal policy and growth: evidence from OECD countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 171-190, November.
  4. 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.
  5. Christian Daude & Ángel Melguizo, 2010. "Taxation and More Representation?: On Fiscal Policy, Social Mobility and Democracy in Latin America," OECD Development Centre Working Papers 294, OECD Publishing.
  6. Leonardo Gasparini & Guillermo Cruces & Leopoldo Tornarolli & Mariana Marchionni, 2009. "A Turning Point? Recent Developments on Inequality in Latin America and the Caribbean," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0081, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
  7. Alesina, Alberto & Rodrik, Dani, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(2), pages 465-90, May.
  8. Breceda, Karla & Rigolini, Jamele & Saavedra, Jaime, 2008. "Latin America and the social contract : patterns of social spending and taxation," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4604, The World Bank.
  9. Eduardo Lora, 2007. "The State of State Reform in Latin America," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6642.
  10. Giovanni Andrea Cornia, 2005. "Policy Reform and Income Distribution," Working Papers 3, United Nations, Department of Economics and Social Affairs.
  11. Cecilia Garcia-Penalosa & Eve Caroli & Philippe Aghion, 1999. "Inequality and Economic Growth: The Perspective of the New Growth Theories," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(4), pages 1615-1660, December.
  12. Paolo Manasse & Ugo Panizza & Laura Dos Reis, 2007. "Targeting the Structural Balance ," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 6722, Inter-American Development Bank.
  13. Rodrigo Cubero & Ivanna Vladkova Hollar, 2010. "Equity and Fiscal Policy; The Income Distribution Effects of Taxation and Social Spending in Central America," IMF Working Papers 10/112, International Monetary Fund.
  14. Bernardi, Luigi & Barreix, Alberto & Marenzi, Anna & Profeta, Paola, 2007. "Tax systems and tax reforms in Latin America: country studies," MPRA Paper 5223, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  15. Bernardi, Luigi & Fraschini, Angela, 2005. "Tax system and tax reforms in India," POLIS Working Papers 45, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
  16. Wang, Chen & Caminada, Koen, 2011. "Disentangling income inequality and the redistributive effect of social transfers and taxes in 36 LIS countries," MPRA Paper 32821, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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