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Inequality and Fiscal Redistribution in Middle Income Countries: Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Indonesia, Mexico, Peru and South Africa

Listed author(s):
  • Nora Lustig

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Tulane University)

This paper examines the redistributive impact of fiscal policy for Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Indonesia, Mexico, Peru and South Africa using comparable fiscal incidence analysis with data from around 2010. The largest redistributive effect is in South Africa and the smallest in Indonesia. 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 Brazil and Colombia (over and above market income poverty) due to high consumption taxes on basic goods. The marginal contribution of direct taxes, direct transfers and in-kind transfers is always equalizing. The marginal effect of net indirect taxes is unequalizing in Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia and South Africa. Total spending on education is pro-poor except for Indonesia, where it is neutral in absolute terms. Health spending is pro-poor in Brazil, Chile, Colombia and South Africa, roughly neutral in absolute terms in Mexico, and not pro-poor in Indonesia and Peru.

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File URL: http://econ.tulane.edu/RePEc/pdf/tul1505r.pdf
File Function: Revised Version, October 2015
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Paper provided by Tulane University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1505.

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Date of creation: Jul 2015
Date of revision: Oct 2015
Handle: RePEc:tul:wpaper:1505
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Web page: http://econ.tulane.edu

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  2. Nora Lustig, 2016. "Commitment to Equity Handbook. A Guide to Estimating the Impact of Fiscal Policy on Inequality and Poverty," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 1301, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
  3. Keen, Michael & Lockwood, Ben, 2007. "The Value Added Tax : Its Causes and Consequences," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 801, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  4. Michael Förster & Peter Whiteford, 2009. "How much Redistribution do Welfare States Achieve? The Role of Cash Transfers and Household Taxes," CESifo DICE Report, Ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 7(3), pages 34-41, October.
  5. Anthony Shorrocks, 2013. "Decomposition procedures for distributional analysis: a unified framework based on the Shapley value," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 11(1), pages 99-126, March.
  6. Luis López-Calva & Eduardo Ortiz-Juarez, 2014. "A vulnerability approach to the definition of the middle class," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 12(1), pages 23-47, March.
  7. Immervoll, Herwig & Richardson, Linda, 2011. "Redistribution Policy and Inequality Reduction in OECD Countries: What Has Changed in Two Decades?," IZA Discussion Papers 6030, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. John Scott, 2014. "Redistributive Impact and Efficiency of Mexico’s Fiscal System," Public Finance Review, SAGE Publishing, vol. 42(3), pages 368-390, May.
  9. Ruggles, Patricia & O'Higgins, Michael, 1981. "The Distribution of Public Expenditure among Households in the United States," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 27(2), pages 137-164, June.
  10. 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).
  11. O'Higgins, Michael & Ruggles, Patricia, 1981. "The Distribution of Public Expenditures and Taxes among Households in the United Kingdom," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 27(3), pages 298-326, September.
  12. Goni, Edwin & Lopez, J. Humberto & Serven, Luis, 2008. "Fiscal redistribution and income inequality in Latin America," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4487, The World Bank.
  13. Immervoll, Herwig & O'Donoghue, Cathal, 2001. "Imputation of gross amounts from net incomes in household surveys: an application using EUROMOD," EUROMOD Working Papers EM1/01, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  14. 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.
  15. Kakwani, Nanok C, 1977. "Measurement of Tax Progressivity: An International Comparison," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 87(345), pages 71-80, March.
  16. Sean Higgins & Claudiney Pereira, 2014. "The Effects of Brazil’s Taxation and Social Spending on the Distribution of Household Income," Public Finance Review, SAGE Publishing, vol. 42(3), pages 346-367, May.
  17. François Bourguignon, 2015. "The Globalization of Inequality," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 10433.
  18. Miguel Jaramillo, 2014. "The Incidence of Social Spending and Taxes in Peru," Public Finance Review, SAGE Publishing, vol. 42(3), pages 391-412, May.
  19. Engel, Eduardo M. R. A. & Galetovic, Alexander & Raddatz, Claudio E., 1999. "Taxes and income distribution in Chile: some unpleasant redistributive arithmetic," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 155-192, June.
  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.
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