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The Impact of Taxes, Transfers, and Subsidies on Inequality and Poverty in Uganda

Author

Listed:
  • Jon Jellema

    () (Commitment to Equity Institute)

  • Nora Lustig

    () (Department of Economics, Tulane University)

  • Astrid Haas

    () (International Growth Centre, Uganda)

  • Sebastian Wolf

    () (International Growth Centre, Uganda)

Abstract

This paper uses the 2012/13 Uganda National Household Survey to analyze the redistributive effectiveness and impact on poverty and inequality of Uganda’s revenue collection instruments and social spending programs. Fiscal policy – including many of its constituent tax and spending elements – is inequality-reducing in Uganda, but the impact of fiscal policy on inequality is modest. The reduction of inequality due to fiscal policy in Uganda is lower than other countries with similar levels of initial inequality, a result tied to low levels of spending in Uganda generally. The impact of fiscal policy on poverty is negligible, though the combination of very sparse coverage of direct transfer programs and nearly complete coverage of indirect tax instruments means that many poor households are net payers into, rather than net recipients from, the fiscal system. As Uganda looks ahead to increased revenues from taxation and concurrent investments in productive infrastructure, it should take care to protect the poorest households from further impoverishment from the fiscal system.

Suggested Citation

  • Jon Jellema & Nora Lustig & Astrid Haas & Sebastian Wolf, 2016. "The Impact of Taxes, Transfers, and Subsidies on Inequality and Poverty in Uganda," Working Papers 1614, Tulane University, Department of Economics, revised Aug 2017.
  • Handle: RePEc:tul:wpaper:1614
    as

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    File URL: http://repec.tulane.edu/RePEc/pdf/tul1614r.pdf
    File Function: Revised Version, August 2017
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    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 1326, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    2. Christopher R. Bollinger & Barry T. Hirsch, 2013. "Is Earnings Nonresponse Ignorable?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(2), pages 407-416, May.
    3. 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.
    4. Freddy Paúl Llerena Pinto & M. Cristhina Llerena Pinto & M. Andrea Llerena Pinto, 2015. "Social Spending, Taxes and Income Redistribution in Ecuador," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 28, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    5. Darío Rossignolo, 2016. "Taxes, Expenditures, Poverty and Income Distribution in Argentina," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 45, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    6. Darío Rossignolo, 2016. "Taxes, Expenditures, Poverty and Income Distribution in Argentina," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 1345, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    7. Cabrera, Maynor & Lustig, Nora & Morán, Hilcías E., 2015. "Fiscal Policy, Inequality, and the Ethnic Divide in Guatemala," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 263-279.
    8. Cabrera, Maynor & Lustig, Nora & Morán, Hilcías E., 2015. "Fiscal Policy, Inequality, and the Ethnic Divide in Guatemala," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 263-279.
    9. 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.
    10. Shamma A. Alam & Gabriela Inchauste & Umar Serajuddin, 2017. "The Distributional Impact of Fiscal Policy in Jordan," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 44, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    11. Abebe Shimeles & Ahmed Moummi & Nizar Jouini & Nora Lustig, 2016. "Fiscal Incidence and Poverty Reduction: Evidence from Tunisia," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 38, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    12. Freddy Paúl Llerena Pinto & M. Cristhina Llerena Pinto & M. Andrea Llerena Pinto, 2015. "Social Spending, Taxes and Income Redistribution in Ecuador," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 1328, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    13. Sean Higgins & Claudiney Pereira, 2014. "The Effects of Brazil’s Taxation and Social Spending on the Distribution of Household Income," Public Finance Review, , vol. 42(3), pages 346-367, May.
    14. Ali Enami & Nora Lustig & Alireza Taqdiri, 2016. "The Role of Fiscal Policy in Fighting Poverty and Reducing Inequality in Iran: An Application of the Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Framework," Working Papers 1020, Economic Research Forum, revised Jun 2016.
    15. Cabrera, Maynor & Lustig, Nora & Morán, Hilcías E., 2015. "Fiscal Policy, Inequality, and the Ethnic Divide in Guatemala," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 263-279.
    16. John Scott, 2014. "Redistributive Impact and Efficiency of Mexico’s Fiscal System," Public Finance Review, , vol. 42(3), pages 368-390, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jose Cuesta & Jon Jellema & Yekaterina Chzhen & Lucia Ferrone & UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti, 2018. "Commitment to Equity for Children, CEQ4C: Fiscal Policy, Multidimensional Poverty, and Equity in Uganda," Papers inwopa945, Innocenti Working Papers.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fiscal incidence; poverty; inequality; fiscal policy; Uganda.;

    JEL classification:

    • H22 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Incidence
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution

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