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Measuring the Effectiveness of Taxes and Transfers in Fighting Inequality and Poverty

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  • Ali Enami

    (Department of Economics, Tulane University)

Abstract

This chapter introduces new indicators that measure the effectiveness of the elements of a fiscal system in reducing inequality and poverty. The new indices are generally divided into two families of Impact Effectiveness (IE) and Spending Effectiveness (SE) indicators and are applicable in any context (i.e. inequality and poverty). Moreover, a variation of the former, known as the Fiscal Impoverishment and Gains Effectiveness indicator (FI/FGP), is separately introduced that is only applicable in the context of poverty. IE and SE indicators are similar in the sense that they both compare the performance of a tax or transfer in reducing inequality or poverty with respect to its theoretically maximum potential. For IE indicators, we keep the amount of money raised (or spent) constant and compare the actual and potential performance of a tax (or transfer) to each other. For SE indicators, we keep the impact of a tax (or transfer) on inequality or poverty constant and compare the actual size of a tax (or transfer) with the theoretically minimum amount of tax (or transfer) that would create the same impact.

Suggested Citation

  • Ali Enami, 2017. "Measuring the Effectiveness of Taxes and Transfers in Fighting Inequality and Poverty," Working Papers 1711, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:tul:wpaper:1711
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Fei, John C H, 1981. "Equity Oriented Fiscal Programs," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 869-881, June.
    2. Fellman, Johan & Jantti, Markus & Lambert, Peter J, 1999. " Optimal Tax-Transfer Systems and Redistributive Policy," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 101(1), pages 115-126, March.
    3. Ali Enami, 2016. "An Application of the CEQ Effectiveness Indicators: The Case of Iran," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 58, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
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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. Dalmacio & William Seitz & Jon Jellema & Maya Goldman, 2021. "The Effects of Fiscal Policy on Poverty and Inequality in Tajikistan," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 108, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    3. Inchauste, Gabriela & Lustig, Nora & Maboshe, Mashekwa & Purfield, Catriona & Woolard, Ingrid, 2015. "The distributional impact of fiscal policy in South Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7194, The World Bank.
    4. Younes Zouhar & Jon Jellema & Nora Lustig & Mohamed Trabelsi, 2021. "Public Expenditure and Inclusive Growth - A Survey," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 109, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    5. 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.
    6. Nora Lustig & Florencia Amábile & Marisa Bucheli & George Gray Molina & Sean Higgins & Miguel Jaramillo & Wilson Jiménez Pozo & Veronica Paz Arauco & Claudiney Pereira & Carola Pessino & Máximo Rossi , 2014. "El impacto del sistema tributario y del gasto social sobre la desigualdad y la pobreza en Argentina, Bolivia, Brasil, México, Perú y Uruguay: Un panorama general," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 13S, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    7. Ali Enami, 2016. "An Application of the CEQ Effectiveness Indicators: The Case of Iran," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 58, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    8. Margarita Beneke & Nora Lustig & Jose Andres Oliva, 2016. "The Impact of Taxes and Social Spending on Inequality and Poverty in El Salvador," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 57, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    9. Marisa Bucheli, 2014. "Public Transfers and Poverty Reduction: an Evaluation of Program Contribution to the Exit Rate from Poverty of Children and the Elderly," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 0914, Department of Economics - dECON.
    10. Nora Lustig, 2015. "Fiscal Policy and Ethno-Racial Inequality in Bolivia, Brazil, Guatemala and Uruguay," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 22, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    11. 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.
    12. 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.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Inequality; poverty; fiscal incidence; marginal contribution; effectiveness indicator;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • 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

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