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Fiscal Policy, Inequality and the Poor in the Developing World

Author

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  • Nora Lustig

    () (DStone Center for Latin American Studies, Department of Economics, Tulane University. Commitment to Equity Institute (CEQI).)

Abstract

Using comparable fiscal incidence analysis, this paper examines the impact of fiscal policy on inequality and poverty in twenty-five countries for around 2010. Success in fiscal redistribution is driven primarily by redistributive effort (share of social spending to GDP in each country) and the extent to which transfers/subsidies are targeted to the poor and direct taxes targeted to the rich. While fiscal policy always reduces inequality, this is not the case with poverty. Fiscal policy increases poverty in four countries using US$1.25/day PPP poverty line, in 8 countries using US$2.50/day line, and 15 countries using the US$4/day line (over and above market income poverty). 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 except for Jordan.

Suggested Citation

  • Nora Lustig, 2016. "Fiscal Policy, Inequality and the Poor in the Developing World," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 23, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:tul:ceqwps:23
    as

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    File URL: http://repec.tulane.edu/RePEc/ceq/ceq23.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    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

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