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The impact of taxes and social spending on inequality and poverty in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay: An overview

Author

Listed:
  • Nora Lustig

    (Tulane University and Center for Global Development and Inter-American Dialogue.)

  • Florencia Amábile

    (Affilitation available at www.commitmentoequity.org)

  • Marisa Bucheli

    (Affilitation available at www.commitmentoequity.org)

  • George Gray Molina

    (Affilitation available at www.commitmentoequity.org)

  • Sean Higgins

    (Affilitation available at www.commitmentoequity.org)

  • Miguel Jaramillo

    (Affilitation available at www.commitmentoequity.org)

  • Wilson Jiménez Pozo

    (Affilitation available at www.commitmentoequity.org)

  • Veronica Paz Arauco

    (Affilitation available at www.commitmentoequity.org)

  • Claudiney Pereira

    (Affilitation available at www.commitmentoequity.org)

  • Carola Pessino

    (Affilitation available at www.commitmentoequity.org)

  • Máximo Rossi

    (Affilitation available at www.commitmentoequity.org)

  • John Scott

    (Affilitation available at www.commitmentoequity.org)

  • Ernesto Yáñez Aguilar

    (Affilitation available at www.commitmentoequity.org)

Abstract

How much redistribution and poverty reduction is being accomplished in Latin America through social spending, subsidies, and taxes? Standard fiscal incidence analyses applied to Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay using a comparable methodology yields the following results. Direct taxes and cash transfers reduce inequality and poverty by nontrivial amounts in Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay but less so in Bolivia, Mexico, and Peru. While direct taxes are progressive, the redistributive impact is small because direct taxes as a share of GDP are generally low. Cash transfers are quite progressive in absolute terms, except in Bolivia where programs are not targeted to the poor. In Bolivia and Brazil, indirect taxes more than offset the poverty-reducing impact of cash transfers. When one includes the in-kind transfers in education and health, valued at government costs, they reduce inequality in all countries by considerably more than cash transfers, reflecting their relative size.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:inq:inqwps:ecineq2013-315
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    File URL: http://www.ecineq.org/milano/WP/ECINEQ2013-315.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Lustig, Nora & Lopez-Calva, Luis F. & Ortiz-Juarez, Eduardo, 2013. "Declining Inequality in Latin America in the 2000s: The Cases of Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 129-141.
    2. Marisa Bucheli & Nora Lustig & Máximo Rossi & Florencia Amábile, 2014. "Social Spending, Taxes, and Income Redistribution in Uruguay," Public Finance Review, , vol. 42(3), pages 413-433, May.
    3. 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.
    4. Nora Lustig, 2016. "Commitment to Equity Handbook. A Guide to Estimating the Impact of Fiscal Policy on Inequality and Poverty," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 1301, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    5. Lustig, Nora & Lopez-Calva, Luis F. & Ortiz-Juarez, Eduardo, 2013. "Declining Inequality in Latin America in the 2000s: The Cases of Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 129-141.
    6. Jorge Martinez-Vazquez, 2001. "The Impact of Budgets on the Poor: Tax and Benefit," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper0110, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    7. 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.
    8. Kakwani, Nanok C, 1977. "Measurement of Tax Progressivity: An International Comparison," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 87(345), pages 71-80, March.
    9. Francisco H.G. Ferreira & Julian Messina & Jamele Rigolini & Luis-Felipe López-Calva & Maria Ana Lugo & Renos Vakis, 2013. "Economic Mobility and the Rise of the Latin American Middle Class
      [La movilidad económica y el crecimiento de la clase media en América Latina]
      ," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 11858.
    10. Nora Lustig & Sean Higgins, 2012. "Commitment to Equity Assessment (CEQ): Estimating the Incidence of Social Spending, Subsidies and Taxes Handbook," Working Papers 1219, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    11. Adam Wagstaff, 2012. "Benefit‐incidence analysis: are government health expenditures more pro‐rich than we think?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(4), pages 351-366, April.
    12. 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.
    13. Nora Lustig & Carola Pessino, 2012. "Social Spending and Income Redistribution in Argentina During the 2000s: the Rising Role of Noncontributory Pensions," CEMA Working Papers: Serie Documentos de Trabajo. 499, Universidad del CEMA.
    14. 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.
    15. John Scott, 2014. "Redistributive Impact and Efficiency of Mexico’s Fiscal System," Public Finance Review, , vol. 42(3), pages 368-390, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Sean Higgins, Nora Lustig, Whitney Ruble, and Timothy Smeeding, 2014. "Comparing the Incidence of Taxes and Social Spending in Brazil and the United States - Working Paper 360," Working Papers 360, Center for Global Development.
    3. Luis F. López-Calva & Nora Lustig & John Scott & Andrés Castañeda, 2013. "Gasto social, redistribución del ingreso y reducción de la pobreza en México: evolución y comparación con Argentina, Brasil y Uruguay," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 1317, Tulane University, Department of Economics, revised Mar 2014.
    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. Sean Higgins & Nora Lustig & Whitney Ruble & Timothy Smeeding, 2013. "Comparing the incidence of taxes and social spending in Brazil and the United States," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 1316, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    6. Nancy Birdsall, Nora Lustig, Christian Meyer, 2013. "The Strugglers: The New Poor in Latin America?-Working Paper 337," Working Papers 337, Center for Global Development.
    7. 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.
    8. Nora Lustig, 2016. "Commitment to Equity Handbook. A Guide to Estimating the Impact of Fiscal Policy on Inequality and Poverty," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 1301, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    9. Branko Milanovic & Sean Higgins & Nora Lustig & Whitney Ruble & Timothy M. Smeeding, 2016. "Comparing the Incidence of Taxes and Social Spending in Brazil and the United States," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 62, pages 22-46, August.
    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 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.
    11. Pablo Sauma & Juan Diego Trejos, 2014. "Universidad de Costa Rica," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 18E, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    12. 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," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 1313, Tulane University, Department of Economics, revised Aug 2013.
    13. Nora Lustig & Carola Pessino & John Scott, 2014. "The Impact of Taxes and Social Spending on Inequality and Poverty in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay," Public Finance Review, , vol. 42(3), pages 287-303, May.

    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    JEL classification:

    • H22 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Incidence
    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development

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