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A New Fiscal Pact, Tax Policy Changes and Income Inequality

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  • Cornia, Giovanni Andrea
  • Martorano, Bruno

Abstract

The paper analyses the changes in tax policy, tax/GDP ratios, tax incidence and income inequality which have taken place in Latin America during the last decade against the background of the changes observed in these variables during the liberal years of the 1980s and 1990s. The paper argues that the recent tax policy changes and a favourable external environment led to an increase of about three points in the regional tax/GDP ratio, that such increase in taxation took place in a slightly or substantially more progressive way than in the past, that the Gini coefficient of the distribution of household income improved on average by 0.4-0.8 points, and that, as a result, redistribution via taxation improved (especially in the Southern Cone) in relation to the 1990s thanks to greater reliance on direct taxes and a reduction in excises. However, in the mid-late 2000s taxation remains unequalizing in about a third of the countries of the region, especially in Central America. The paper concludes by offering recommendations on how the new fiscal pact evolving in the region can be strengthened to improve the redistributive effect of taxation in the years ahead.

Suggested Citation

  • Cornia, Giovanni Andrea & Martorano, Bruno, 2011. "A New Fiscal Pact, Tax Policy Changes and Income Inequality," WIDER Working Paper Series 070, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  • Handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:wp2011-70
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. -, 2013. "Fiscal Panorama of Latin America and the Caribbean 2013: tax reform and renewal of the fiscal covenant," Libros y Documentos Institucionales, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), number 3101 edited by Eclac, March.
    2. Richard M. Bird & Eric M. Zolt, 2014. "Taxation and inequality in the Americas: Changing the fiscal contract?," Chapters,in: Taxation and Development: The Weakest Link?, chapter 7, pages 193-237 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    3. Cornia, Giovanni Andrea, 2014. "Income inequality in Latin America. Recent decline and prospects for its further reduction," Macroeconomía del Desarrollo 149, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    4. Bruno Martorano, 2014. "Pre-crisis Conditions and Government Policy Responses: Chile and Mexico during the Great Recession," Papers inwopa729, Innocenti Working Papers.
    5. Bruno Martorano, 2014. "The Impact of Uruguay's 2007 Tax Reform on Equity and Efficiency," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 32(6), pages 701-714, November.
    6. Yilmaz Akyüz, 2012. "The Staggering Rise of the South?," Working Papers 2012/3, Turkish Economic Association.
    7. Giovanni Andrea Cornia & Bruno Martorano, 2012. "Development Policies and Income Inequality in Selected Developing Regions, 1980–2010," UNCTAD Discussion Papers 210, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
    8. Vito Tanzi, 2013. "Tax reform in Latin America: a long term assessment," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 1315, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    9. Cornia, Giovanni Andrea, 2012. "Inequality Trends and their Determinants: Latin America over 1990-2010," WIDER Working Paper Series 009, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    10. Sara Torregrosa Hetland, 2015. "Did democracy bring redistribution? Insights from the Spanish tax system, 1960–90," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(3), pages 294-315.
    11. Seguino, Stephanie & Braunstein, Elissa, 2012. "The impact of economic policy and structural change on gender employment inequality in Latin America, 1990-2010," MPRA Paper 43261, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Malte Luebker, 2015. "Redistribution policies," Chapters,in: Labour Markets, Institutions and Inequality, chapter 8, pages 211-241 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    13. Bruno Martorano, 2016. "Taxation and inequality in developing countries: Lessons from the recent experience of Latin America," WIDER Working Paper Series 098, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    14. Gómez Sabaini, Juan Carlos & Morán, Dalmiro, 2014. "Tax policy in Latin America: Assessment and guidelines for a second generation of reforms," Macroeconomía del Desarrollo 133, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    15. repec:unu:wpaper:wp2012-09 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Martner Fanta, Ricardo & Gonzales, Ivonne & Podestá, Andrea, 2013. "Políticas fiscales para el crecimiento y la igualdad," Macroeconomía del Desarrollo 138, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    17. Yilmaz Akyüz, 2014. "Internationalization of Finance and Changing Vulnerabilities in Emerging and Developing Economies," UNCTAD Discussion Papers 217, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
    18. Vito Tanzi, 2013. "Tax reform in Latin America: a long term assessment," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 15, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    19. Bruno Martorano, & Giovanni Andrea Cornia & Frances Stewart, 2012. "Human Development and Fiscal Policy: Comparing the Crises of 1982-85 and 2008-11," Working Papers - Economics wp2012_23.rdf, Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze per l'Economia e l'Impresa.
    20. Bruno Martorano, 2016. "Taxation and inequality in developing countries: Lessons from the recent experience of Latin America," WIDER Working Paper Series 098, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    21. Giovanni Andrea Cornia & Milica Uvalic, 2012. "Learning from the past: Which of the past/current development strategies are best suited to deal with the ‘quadruple crisis’?," Working Papers 116, United Nations, Department of Economics and Social Affairs.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    tax policy; tax incidence; income inequality; redistribution; fiscal exchange; Latin America;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General

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