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The Redistributive Impactive of Government Spending on Education and Health Evidence from Thirteen Developing Countries in the Commitment to Equity Project

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  • Nora Lustig

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

Abstract

Here, I examine the level, redistributive impact and pro-poorness of government spending on education and health for thirteen developing countries from the Commitment to Equity project. Social spending as a share of total income is high by historical standards, and it rises with income per capita and income inequality. Spending on education and health lowers inequality and its marginal contribution to the overall decline in inequality is, on average, 69 percent. There appears to be no “Robin Hood Paradox:” redistribution increases with income inequality, even if one controls for per capita income. Concentration coefficients indicate that spending on pre-school, primary and secondary education is pro-poor in twelve countries. Spending on tertiary education is regressive and unequalizing in three countries, and progressive and equalizing (but not pro-poor) in ten. Health spending is pro-poor in five countries. Of the remaining eight, health spending per capita is roughly equal across the income distribution in three, and progressive and equalizing (but not pro-poor) in five.

Suggested Citation

  • Nora Lustig, 2015. "The Redistributive Impactive of Government Spending on Education and Health Evidence from Thirteen Developing Countries in the Commitment to Equity Project," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 30, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:tul:ceqwps:30
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    File URL: http://repec.tulane.edu/RePEc/ceq/ceq30.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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 26, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    2. repec:eee:wdevel:v:103:y:2018:i:c:p:60-71 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Higgins, Sean & Lustig, Nora, 2016. "Can a poverty-reducing and progressive tax and transfer system hurt the poor?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 63-75.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    fiscal incidence; social spending; inequality; developing countries;

    JEL classification:

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

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