IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/inq/inqwps/ecineq2012-264.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Impact of Taxes and Social Spending on Inequality and Poverty in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Mexico and Peru: A Synthesis of Results

Author

Listed:
  • Nora Lustig

    (Tulane University and CGD and IAD)

  • George Gray-Molina

    (UNDP, New York, USA)

  • Sean Higgins

    (Tulane University)

  • Miguel Jaramillo

    (GRADE, Lima, Peru)

  • Wilson Jiménez

    (Instituto Alternativo, La Paz; Bolivia)

  • Veronica Paz

    (Instituto Alternativo, La Paz; Bolivia)

  • Claudiney Pereira

    (Tulane University)

  • Carola Pessino

    (CGD, Washington, DC and CEMA, Buenos Aires, Argentin)

  • John Scott

    (CIDE and CONEVAL, Mexico City, Mexico)

  • Ernesto Yañez

    (Instituto Alternativo, La Paz; Bolivia)

Abstract

We apply a standard tax and benefit incidence analysis to estimate the impact on inequality and poverty of direct taxes, indirect taxes and subsidies, and social spending (cash and food transfers and in-kind transfers in education and health). The extent of inequality reduction induced by direct taxes and transfers is rather small (2 percentage points on average) especially when compared with that found in Western Europe (15 percentage points on average). What prevents Argentina, Bolivia and Brazil from achieving similar reductions in inequality is not the lack of revenues but the fact that they spend less on cash transfers –especially transfers that are progressive in absolute terms--as a share of GDP. Indirect taxes result in that net contributors to the fiscal system start at the fourth, third and even second decile on average, depending on the country. When in-kind transfers in education and health are added, however, the bottom six deciles are net recipients. The impact of transfers on inequality and poverty reduction could be higher if spending on direct cash transfers that are progressive in absolute terms is increased, leakages to the nonpoor are reduced and coverage of the extreme poor by direct transfer programs is expanded.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:inq:inqwps:ecineq2012-264
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.ecineq.org/milano/WP/ECINEQ2012-264.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. Lambert, Peter J, 1985. "On the Redistributive Effect of Taxes and Benefits," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 32(1), pages 39-54, February.
    3. Andrew Barnard, 2009. "The effects of taxes and benefits on household income, 2007/08," Economic & Labour Market Review, Palgrave Macmillan;Office for National Statistics, vol. 3(8), pages 56-66, August.
    4. Herwig Immervoll & Horacio Levy & José Ricardo Nogueira & Cathal O´Donoghue & Rozane Bezerra de Siqueira, 2005. "The Impact of Brazil´s Tax-Benefit System on Inequality and Poverty," Ibero America Institute for Econ. Research (IAI) Discussion Papers 117, Ibero-America Institute for Economic Research.
    5. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    fiscal incidence; inequality; poverty; taxes; social spending; Latin America.;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H22 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Incidence
    • H5 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality
    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:inq:inqwps:ecineq2012-264. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Maria Ana Lugo). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/ecineea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.