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The Impact of Brazil's Tax-Benefit System on Inequality and Poverty

Author

Listed:
  • Immervoll, Herwig

    () (OECD)

  • Levy, Horacio

    () (University of Essex)

  • Nogueira, José Ricardo

    () (Universidade Federal de Pernambuco)

  • O'Donoghue, Cathal

    () (Maastricht University)

  • Siqueira, Rozane Bezerra de

    () (Universidade Federal de Pernambuco)

Abstract

The Brazilian government raises taxes amounting to 35% of GDP and spends more than two thirds of this on social programmes. These shares are in pair with the OECD averages and well in excess of Latin America averages. However, while tax-benefit systems in most OECD countries reduce income disparities very significantly, the Brazilian government has been much less successful in alleviating inequality and poverty. Focussing on taxes and cash transfers, this paper investigates the impact of the government budget on the income distribution in Brazil, and evaluates its efficiency and effectiveness in reducing inequality and poverty. We present BRAHMS, a new tax-benefit microsimulation model for Brazil and illustrate its use by evaluating the impact of policy on economic inequality. It is argued that microsimulation provides a valuable analytical tool for policy makers in emerging and developing countries in particular.

Suggested Citation

  • Immervoll, Herwig & Levy, Horacio & Nogueira, José Ricardo & O'Donoghue, Cathal & Siqueira, Rozane Bezerra de, 2006. "The Impact of Brazil's Tax-Benefit System on Inequality and Poverty," IZA Discussion Papers 2114, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2114
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Immervoll, Herwig & Levy, Horacio & Lietz, Christine & Mantovani, Daniela & O'Donoghue, Cathal & Sutherland, Holly & Verbist, Gerlinde, 2005. "Household Incomes and Redistribution in the European Union: Quantifying the Equalising Properties of Taxes and Benefits," IZA Discussion Papers 1824, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Rozane Bezerra de Siqueira & José Ricardo Nogueira & Cathal O'Donoghue, 2003. "Simulating Brazil Tax-Benefit System Using Brahms, the Brazilian Household Microsimulation Model," Anais do XXXI Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 31st Brazilian Economics Meeting] b50, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pós-Graduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    3. Atkinson, Tony, et al, 2002. "Microsimulation of Social Policy in the European Union: Case Study of a European Minimum Pension," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 69(274), pages 229-243, May.
    4. Cathal O'Donoghue & Massimo Baldini, 2004. "Modelling the Redistributive Impact of Indirect Taxes in Europe: An Application of EUROMOD," Working Papers 0077, National University of Ireland Galway, Department of Economics, revised 2004.
    5. Nripesh Podder, 1993. "The Disaggregation Of The Gin1 Coefficient By Factor Components And Its Applications To Australia," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 39(1), pages 51-61, March.
    6. Sutherland, Holly, 2001. "EUROMOD: an integrated European benefit-tax model: final report," EUROMOD Working Papers EM9/01, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    7. Sutherland, Holly & Immervoll, Herwig & O'Donoghue, Cathal, 1999. "An introduction to EUROMOD," EUROMOD Working Papers EM0/99, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    8. Chu, K.-y. & Davoodi, H. & Gupta, S., 2000. "Income Distribution and Tax, and Government Social Spending Policies in Developing Countries," Research Paper 214, World Institute for Development Economics Research.
    9. Holly Sutherland & David Piachaud, 2000. "How Effective is the British Government's Attempt to Reduce Child Poverty?," Papers inwopa00/6, Innocenti Working Papers.
    10. Hoffmann, Rodolfo, 2003. "Inequality in Brazil: The Contribution of Pensions," Revista Brasileira de Economia - RBE, FGV/EPGE - Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil), vol. 57(4), October.
    11. Nogueira, José Ricardo & Siqueira, Rozane Bezerra de & de Souza, Evaldo Santana, 2001. "A Incidência Final dos Impostos Indiretos no Brasil: Efeitos da Tributação de Insumos," Revista Brasileira de Economia - RBE, FGV/EPGE - Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil), vol. 55(4), October.
    12. Creedy, J., 1997. "Evaluating Income Tax Changes and the Choice of Income Measures," Department of Economics - Working Papers Series 577, The University of Melbourne.
    13. Buhmann, Brigitte, et al, 1988. "Equivalence Scales, Well-Being, Inequality, and Poverty: Sensitivity Estimates across Ten Countries Using the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) Database," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 34(2), pages 115-142, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Olivier Bargain & Prudence Kwenda, 2014. "The Informal Sector Wage Gap: New Evidence Using Quantile Estimations on Panel Data," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63(1), pages 117-153.
    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. Levy, Horacio & Nogueira, José Ricardo & Siqueira, Rozane Bezerra & Immervoll, Herwig & O'Donoghue, Cathal, 2010. "Simulating the impact of inflation on the progressivity of personal income tax in Brazil," Revista Brasileira de Economia - RBE, FGV/EPGE - Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil), vol. 64(4), December.
    4. Glomm, Gerhard & Jung, Juergen & Tran, Chung, 2009. "Macroeconomic implications of early retirement in the public sector: The case of Brazil," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 777-797, April.
    5. Coutinho Diogo R., 2010. "Linking Promises to Policies: Law and Development in an Unequal Brazil," The Law and Development Review, De Gruyter, vol. 3(2), pages 3-40, May.
    6. Nora Lustig, 2016. "The Sustainable Development Goals, Domestic Resource Mobilization and the Poor," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 61, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    7. Jung, Juergen & Tran, Chung, 2012. "The extension of social security coverage in developing countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(2), pages 439-458.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. Nora Lustig, 2016. "Fiscal Policy, Inequality and the Poor in the Developing World," Working Papers 1612, Tulane University, Department of Economics, revised Aug 2017.
    12. Lustig Nora, 2016. "Inequality and Fiscal Redistribution in Middle Income Countries: Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Indonesia, Mexico, Peru and South Africa," Journal of Globalization and Development, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 17-60, June.
    13. Nora Lustig, 2016. "El Impacto del Sistema Tributario y el Gasto Social en la Distribución del Ingreso y la Pobreza en América Latina: Argentina, Bolivia, Brasil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatema," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 1337, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    14. Nora Lustig, 2016. "Fiscal Policy, Inequality and the Poor in the Developing World," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 1323, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    15. repec:kap:jecinq:v:15:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s10888-017-9367-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Armando Barrientos & Dario Debowicz & Ingrid Woolard, 2014. "Antipoverty Transfers and Inclusive Growth in Brazil," Global Development Institute Working Paper Series iriba_wp04, GDI, The University of Manchester.
    17. Cesar Cancho & Elena Bondarenko, 2017. "The Distributional Impact of Fiscal Policy in Georgia," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 42, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    18. Olivier Bargain & Prudence Kwenda, 2009. "The Informal Sector Wage Gap: New Evidence Using Quantile Regressions on Panel Data," CEDI Discussion Paper Series 09-06, Centre for Economic Development and Institutions(CEDI), Brunel University.
    19. repec:hpe:journl:y:2016:v:219:i:4:p:121-136 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    microsimulation; Brazil; inequality; poverty; redistribution;

    JEL classification:

    • H22 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Incidence
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access

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