IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/inq/inqwps/ecineq2017-428.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Fiscal policy, income redistribution and poverty reduction in low and middle income countries

Author

Listed:
  • Nora Lustig

    (Tulane University)

Abstract

Current policy discussion focuses primarily on the power of fiscal policy to reduce inequality. Yet, comparable fiscal incidence analysis for twenty-eight low and middle income countries reveals that, although fiscal systems are always equalizing, that is not always true for poverty. In Ethiopia, Tanzania, Ghana, Nicaragua, and Guatemala the extreme poverty headcount ratio is higher after taxes and transfers (excluding in-kind transfers) than before. In addition, to varying degrees, in all countries a portion of the poor are net payers into the fiscal system and are thus impoverished by the fiscal system. Consumption taxes are the main culprits of fiscally-induced impoverishment. Net direct taxes are always equalizing and indirect taxes net of subsidies are equalizing in nineteen countries of the twenty-eight. While spending on pre-school and primary school is pro-poor (i.e., the per capita transfer declines with income) in almost all countries, pro-poor secondary school spending is less prevalent, and tertiary education spending tends to be progressive only in relative terms (i.e., equalizing but not pro-poor). Health spending is always equalizing but not always pro-poor. More unequal countries devote more resources to redistributive spending and appear to redistribute more. The latter, however, is not a robust result across specifications.

Suggested Citation

  • Nora Lustig, 2017. "Fiscal policy, income redistribution and poverty reduction in low and middle income countries," Working Papers 428, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  • Handle: RePEc:inq:inqwps:ecineq2017-428
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.ecineq.org/milano/WP/ECINEQ2017-428.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Marisa Bucheli & Nora Lustig & Máximo Rossi & Florencia Amábile, 2012. "Social Spending, Taxes and Income Redistribution in Uruguay," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 1212, Department of Economics - dECON.
    2. Ali Enami & Nora Lustig & Alireza Taqdiri, 2016. "Fiscal Policy, Inequality and Poverty in Iran: Assessing the Impact and Effectiveness of Taxes and Transfer," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 48, Tulane University, Department of Economics, revised Jun 2017.
    3. Martinez Aguilar,Sandra Natalia & Fuchs Tarlovsky,Alan & Ortiz-Juarez,Eduardo & Del Carmen Hasbun,Giselle Eugenia, 2017. "The impact of fiscal policy on inequality and poverty in Chile," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7939, The World Bank.
    4. 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.
    5. Darío Rossignolo, 2016. "Taxes, Expenditures, Poverty and Income Distribution in Argentina," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 45, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    6. 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.
    7. Ali Enami & Nora Lustig & Rodrigo Aranda, 2016. "Analytic Foundations: Measuring the Redistributive Impact of Taxes and Transfers," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 25, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    8. Lindert Peter H., 1994. "The Rise of Social Spending, 1880-1930," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 1-37, January.
    9. Ali Enami, 2016. "Measuring the Redistributive Impact of Taxes and Transfers in the Presence of Reranking," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 59, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    10. Abebe Shimeles & Ahmed Moummi & Nizar Jouini & Nora Lustig, 2016. "Fiscal Incidence and Poverty Reduction: Evidence from Tunisia," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 38, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    11. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-927, October.
    12. Sean Higgins & Claudiney Pereira, 2014. "The Effects of Brazil’s Taxation and Social Spending on the Distribution of Household Income," Public Finance Review, , vol. 42(3), pages 346-367, May.
    13. David E. Sahn & Stephen D. Younger, 2000. "Expenditure incidence in Africa: microeconomic evidence," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 21(3), pages 329-347, September.
    14. Maynor Cabrera, Nora Lustig, and Hilcías E. Morán, 2015. "Fiscal Policy, Inequality, and the Ethnic Divide in Guatemala - Working Paper 397," Working Papers 397, Center for Global Development.
    15. John Scott, 2014. "Redistributive Impact and Efficiency of Mexico’s Fiscal System," Public Finance Review, , vol. 42(3), pages 368-390, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. repec:kap:itaxpf:v:25:y:2018:i:5:d:10.1007_s10797-018-9487-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Maboshe Mashekwa & Woolard Ingrid, 2018. "Revisiting the impact of direct taxes and transfers on poverty and inequality in South Africa," WIDER Working Paper Series 79, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    fiscal incidence; social spending; inequality; poverty; developing countries.;

    JEL classification:

    • H22 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Incidence
    • H5 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty

    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:ecineq2017-428. 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.