Assessing the Impact of the 2007 Tax Reform on Povert and Inequality in Uruguay
In the context of a sharp rise in the incidence of poverty and increasing inequality since the end of the last decade, a major tax reform was put into place in mid-2007 with the explicit goals of promoting both greater efficiency and equity in the Uruguayan tax system. Overall, the reform substantially increased direct taxes on personal income by increasing marginal rates, lowered indirect taxes and direct taxes on firms, harmonized employer contributions to social security across sectors and eliminated some highly distortionary taxes. The joint effects of these changes on the macroeconomic equilibrium, labour markets, and poverty and inequality are assessed using a top-down static CGE, a microsimulation approach. It is shown that full implementation of the tax reform has substantial general equilibrium effects which generally strengthen the reduction of poverty incidences, poverty gaps and the severity of poverty exclusively due to the introduction of the personal income tax (without behavioural responses). Regarding poverty, the general equilibrium effects are significantly greater than the direct effects. Overall, we estimate a one-point reduction of the Gini index due to the reform.
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