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Latin America and the social contract : patterns of social spending and taxation

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  • Breceda, Karla
  • Rigolini, Jamele
  • Saavedra, Jaime

Abstract

This paper presents an incidence analysis of both social spending and taxation for seven Latin American countries, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The analysis shows that Latin American countries are headed de facto toward a minimalist welfare state similar to the one in the United States, rather than toward a stronger, European-like welfare state. Specifically, both in Latin America and in the United States, social spending remains fairly flat across income quintiles. On the taxation side, high income inequality causes the rich tobear most of the taxation burden. This causes a vicious cycle where the rich oppose the expansion of the welfare state (as they bear most of its burden without receiving much back), which in turn maintains long-term inequalities. The recent increased socioeconomic instability in many Latin American countries shows nonetheless a real need for a stronger welfare state, which, if unanswered, may degenerate into short-term and unsustainable policies. The case of Chile suggests that a way out from this apparent dead end can be found, as elites may be willing to raise their contribution to social spending if this can lead to a more stable social contract.

Suggested Citation

  • Breceda, Karla & Rigolini, Jamele & Saavedra, Jaime, 2008. "Latin America and the social contract : patterns of social spending and taxation," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4604, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4604
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Barrientos, Armando, 2011. "On the Distributional Implications of Social Protection Reforms in Latin America," WIDER Working Paper Series 069, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    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. Goñi, Edwin & Humberto López, J. & Servén, Luis, 2011. "Fiscal Redistribution and Income Inequality in Latin America," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(9), pages 1558-1569, September.
    4. World Bank, 2010. "Uruguay - Equality of Opportunity : Achievements and Challenges," World Bank Other Operational Studies 2985, The World Bank.
    5. 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 1313S, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    6. Nora Lustig & Rodrigo Aranda, 2015. "El Impacto de los Impuestos y las Transferencias en la Pobreza y la Desigualdad Rural-Urbana en Bolivia, Brasil, Guatemala, México y Perú," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 32, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    7. Nora Lustig, 2011. "Fiscal policy and income redistribution in Latin America: Challenging the conventional wisdom," Working Papers 227, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    8. Cuesta, Jose & Kabaso, Pamela & Suarez-Becerra, Pablo, 2012. "How pro-poor and progressive is social spending in Zambia ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6052, The World Bank.
    9. Bird, Richard M. & Zolt, Eric M., 2015. "Fiscal Contracting in Latin America," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 323-335.
    10. 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.
    11. Lavinas, Lena. & Moellmann Ferro, Thiago Andrade., 2014. "A long way from tax justice : the Brazilian case," ILO Working Papers 994851303402676, International Labour Organization.
    12. Nora Lustig, 2011. "Commitment to Equity Assessment (CEQ): A Diagnostic Framework to Assess Governments' Fiscal Policies Handbook," Working Papers 1122, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    13. 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 1313S, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    14. José Cuesta & Lucia Madrigal, 2014. "Equity in Education Expenditure in Thailand," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 32(2), pages 239-258, March.
    15. Nora Lustig, 2016. "El Impacto del Sistema Tributario y el Gasto Social en la Distribución del Ingreso y la Pobreza en América Latina: Argentina, Bolivia, Brasil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatema," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 37, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    16. 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 , 2013. "The impact of taxes and social spending on inequality and poverty in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay: An overview," Working Papers 315, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    17. 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).
    18. Nora Lustig & George Gray-Molina & Sean Higgins & Miguel Jaramillo & Wilson Jiménez & Veronica Paz & Claudiney Pereira & Carola Pessino & John Scott & Ernesto Yañez, 2012. "The Impact of Taxes and Social Spending on Inequality and Poverty in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Mexico and Peru: A Synthesis of Results," Working Papers 264, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    19. Nora Lustig, 2017. "El Impacto del Sistema Tributario y el Gasto Social en la Distribución del Ingreso y la Pobreza en América Latina. Una Aplicación del Marco Metodológico del Proyecto Compromiso con la Equidad (CEQ)," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 62, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    20. Nora Lustig, 2016. "El Impacto del Sistema Tributario y el Gasto Social en la Distribución del Ingreso y la Pobreza en América Latina: Argentina, Bolivia, Brasil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatema," Commitment to Equity (CEQ) Working Paper Series 1337, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    21. -, 2011. "Social Panorama of Latin America 2010," Panorama Social de América Latina, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), number 1237 edited by Eclac, December.

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    Keywords

    ; Public Sector Economics&Finance; Taxation&Subsidies; Economic Theory&Research; Services&Transfers to Poor;

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