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Equity and Fiscal Policy: The Income Distribution Effects of Taxation and Social Spending in Central America

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  • Ivanna Vladkova Hollar
  • Rodrigo Cubero

Abstract

How does fiscal policy fare in improving the underlying income distribution in Central America? We integrate the data from a number of existing tax and public expenditure studies for the countries in the region and find that the distributional effect of taxation is regressive but small. In contrast, the redistributive impact of social spending is large and progressive, leading to a progressive net redistributive effect in all countries of the region. We also show that raising tax revenues and devoting the proceeds to social spending would unambiguously improve the income of the poorest households.

Suggested Citation

  • Ivanna Vladkova Hollar & Rodrigo Cubero, 2010. "Equity and Fiscal Policy: The Income Distribution Effects of Taxation and Social Spending in Central America," IMF Working Papers 2010/112, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:2010/112
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    Cited by:

    1. 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).
    2. Margarita Beneke & Nora Lustig, 2015. "El Impacto de los Impuestos y el Gasto Social en la Desigualdad y la Pobreza en El Salvador," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 1326, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    3. Gómez Sabaini, Juan Carlos & Morán, Dalmiro, 2014. "Tax policy in Latin America: Assessment and guidelines for a second generation of reforms," Macroeconomía del Desarrollo 133, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    4. Margarita Beneke & Nora Lustig, 2015. "El Impacto de los Impuestos y el Gasto Social en la Desigualdad y la Pobreza en El Salvador," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 26, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    5. EDO Onome Christopher, 2021. "Direct Taxes and Income Redistribution in Nigeria," GATR Journals gjbssr596, Global Academy of Training and Research (GATR) Enterprise.
    6. Jaejoon Woo & Elva Bova & Tidiane Kinda & Y. Sophia Zhang, 2017. "Distributional Consequences of Fiscal Adjustments: What Do the Data Say?," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 65(2), pages 273-307, June.
    7. Simone Salotti & Carmine Trecroci, 2018. "Cross-country evidence on the distributional impact of fiscal policy," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 50(51), pages 5521-5542, November.
    8. Paul Mosley, 2012. "The politics of what works for the poor in public expenditure and taxation: a review," Global Development Institute Working Paper Series esid-011-12, GDI, The University of Manchester.
    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. Monica Brezzi & Luiz de Mello, 2016. "Inequalities in Latin America: Trends and implications for Policy," Hacienda Pública Española / Review of Public Economics, IEF, vol. 219(4), pages 93-120, December.
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    12. Cabrera, Maynor & Lustig, Nora & Morán, Hilcías E., 2015. "Fiscal Policy, Inequality, and the Ethnic Divide in Guatemala," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 263-279.
    13. Armando Barrientos, 2011. "On the Distributional Implications of Social Protection Reforms in Latin America," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2011-069, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    14. Margarita Beneke & Nora Lustig & Jose Andres Oliva, 2016. "The Impact of Taxes and Social Spending on Inequality and Poverty in El Salvador," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 57, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    15. Guerra, Maria Lucia., 2012. "Implications of the recent macroeconomic policies on employment and labour market outcomes in Peru," ILO Working Papers 994783093402676, International Labour Organization.
    16. Haroon Jamal* & Sohail Javed**, 2013. "Incidence of general sales tax in Pakistan : Latest estimate," Pakistan Journal of Applied Economics, Applied Economics Research Centre, vol. 23(2), pages 73-95.
    17. Cabrera, Maynor & Lustig, Nora & Morán, Hilcías E., 2015. "Fiscal Policy, Inequality, and the Ethnic Divide in Guatemala," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 263-279.
    18. Arshad Ali Bhatti & Zakia Batool & Hasnain A. Naqvi, 2015. "Fiscal Policy and Its Role in Reducing Income Inequality- A CGE Analysis for Pakistan," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 54(4), pages 843-864.
    19. Mr. Martin Petri & Mr. Antonio David, 2013. "Inclusive Growth and the Incidence of Fiscal Policy in Mauritius: Much Progress, But More Could be Done," IMF Working Papers 2013/116, International Monetary Fund.
    20. Giovanni Andrea Cornia & Juan Carlos Gómez-Sabaini & Bruno Martorano, 2011. "A New Fiscal Pact, Tax Policy Changes and Income Inequality: Latin America During the Last Decade," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2011-070, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    21. Mr. Tidiane Kinda & Djeneba Doumbia, 2019. "Reallocating Public Spending to Reduce Income Inequality: Can It Work?," IMF Working Papers 2019/188, International Monetary Fund.
    22. 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).

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