New CGD Partnership: Commitment to Equity Assessments of Impact of Fiscal Policy
We are pleased to announce a new Commitment to Equity (CEQ)partnership with the Center for Global Development (CGD). CGD works to reduce global poverty and inequality through rigorous research and active engagement with the policy community to make the world a more prosperous, just, and safe place for us all. CGD’s role as a partner of CEQ will be to share the global reach of their communications platform. Through a new Commitment to Equity sub-topic within their inequality topic, they will post links to CEQ studies as they become available, the CEQ papers that are jointly published with CGD, and occasional blog posts. We look forward to working with CGD and are honored to have it as a CEQ partner. !
Gates Foundation awards US$580,000 to Tulane University to apply the CEQ in Ghana and Tanzania
Nora Lustig --Samuel Z. Stone Professor of Economics, senior associate research fellow at CIPR and nonresident fellow at the Center for Global Development and the Inter-American Dialogue-- has been awarded a US$580,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to study the impact of fiscal policy on inequality and poverty in low-income countries.
Lustig is co-founder and director of the Commitment to Equity (CEQ)--a project jointly sponsored by CIPR and the Department of Economics at Tulane University and the Inter-American Dialogue--designed to analyze the impact of taxes and social spending on inequality and poverty, and to provide a roadmap for governments, multilateral institutions, and nongovernmental organizations in their efforts to build more equitable societies (www.commitmenttoequity.org). To date, the project has analyzed and compared the incidence of taxation and social spending in twelve Latin American countries, and studies are currently under way in three additional Latin American countries and six countries in other regions of the world.
The grant will enable Lustig and her team to implement the analysis in two pilot countries in Africa, Ghana and Tanzania, as well as to adapt the CEQ methodology to encompass the idiosyncrasies of low-income countries. She will work alongside co-principal investigators James Alm, Chair of the Economics Department, and Sean Higgins, Economics PhD student.
By undertaking a thorough and transparent analysis of who bears the burden of taxation and who receives the benefits of public spending, the project ultimately hopes to foster evidence-based policy discussion and, ideally, implementation of reforms related to taxation, public spending, and social programs in the two countries.(11/8/2013)
On June 10-12, the CEQ project joined forces with the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management group of the World Bank to launch pilot studies in Armenia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Jordan, South Africa and Sri Lanka. (6/10/2013) Click here.
CEQ on the Center for Global Development's Global Prosperity Wonkcast
Please check out the Global Prosperity Wonkcast from May 2014 featuring Dr. Nora Lustig, the CEQ Director. This Wonkcast is produced by the Center for Global Development (CGD) and features international development experts discussing how wealthy countries can promote prosperity in developing counties.
Episode Title: The Commitment to Equity Assessment (CEQ) - Nora Lustig, May 2014
About the Episode: Many governments try to reduce poverty and inequality through a mixture of taxes, transfers, and public services. Individual policies, such as taxation or cash transfers, are frequently evaluated on how well they address these goals. But the overall impact of a country’s fiscal policy package on poverty and inequality has rarely been subject to systematic analysis—until now. Nora Lustig, a non-resident fellow at CGD and a professor at Tulane, has set out to close this gap with the Commitment to Equity Assessment or CEQ. I invited Nora to tell us about this new endeavor. Nora explains that the CEQ is both a virtual toolbox—that is, a common analytical approach—and a global network of researchers who are applying this approach in a series of country case studies. CEQ partner institutions include Tulane University, the Inter-American Dialogue, and now CGD, which is helping to bring the approach and the case study findings to a broad international audience. These materials will be collected on a CEQ landing page that is part of the Center’s ongoing work on inequality. The assessment initially focused on Latin America, the region Nora knows best. But with encouragement and funding from the World Bank and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the CEQ is growing rapidly to include countries in other regions, among them South Africa, Tanzania, Ghana, Tunisia, Armenia, Jordan, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia. What exactly can we learn from such assessments? Nora offers Brazil as an example. Brazil is reputed to be well-run and pro-poor in its policies, especially for direct taxes and cash transfer programs such as Bolsa Familia.
Nora Lustig was appointed Vice-chair of the Board of Directors of the Global Development Network (GDN), a public International Organization that builds research capacity in development globally.
(Spanish) Entrevista a Nora Lustig por el Programa de Género y Diversidad del Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo. ¿Consiguen los impuestos y el gasto social recortar la brecha que existe entre los ingresos de los que más ganan y los que menos, tienen de una forma equitativa para todos los grupos raciales y étnicos? Ver entrevista
Nora Lustig featured in the Latin America Advisor Q & A, “What is the State of Poverty and Inequality in Latin America?”Click Here
New CEQ WP 16 by Higgins, Lustig, Ruble and Smeeding compares the incidence of taxes and transfers in Brazil and the United States Click Here
(Spanish) Entrevista a Nora Lustig por el Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo ¿Por qué los retornos a la educación se han reducido en América Latina? Ver entrevista
9/23/2013 - ICEFI workshop
Commitment to Equity Conference convenes researchers and multilateral organizations;Click here
ICEFI holds a kick-off workshop to launch a rural-urban CEQ in Central American countries with funding from IFAD. For more information click here.
Lustig quoted in Washington Post, Sept 19, 2013 click here
The Brazilian government announced on Monday, July 22, a R$10 billion (about US$4.5 billion) budget cut for 2013. The budget cuts can be divided into two groups:
1) Revision of future outlays. In particular, subsidies especially to agriculture and transfers to social security (about R$4.4 billion).
2) Cuts on discretionary expenditures as travel, electricity, and so on.
Social programs will not be affected and cuts do not affect MINHA CASA, MINHA VIDA program. More details can be found at: http://www.brasil.gov.br/para/press/press-releases/july-2013/government-announces-r-10-billion-reduction-in-spending-1/view
6/5/2013 CEQ Assessments were presented in LASA, the Inter-American Dialogue and the World Bank in June. Click here if you want to see the presentations
5/6/2013 ¿Es Argentina un modelo de políticas redistributivas?
¿Es Argentina un modelo de políticas redistributivas? Nora Lustig y Carola Pessino
4/28/2013 ¿Qué tan comprometidos están los gobiernos de América Latina con la equidad? by Nora Lustig
4/22/2013 Taxes, Social Spending and Income Redistribution in Latin America
- Nora Lustig
Fiscal Policy, Equity and Long-Term Growth in Developing Countries
IMF and World Bank Washington, DC – April 21 and 22, 2013
4/16/2013 Roundtable discussion on Louisianas Tax Debate
Gov. Jindal has dropped his original tax plan to replace income tax revenue by raising the sales tax rate, extending the sales tax to services and increasing the tax on cigarettes, but his top priority is still to "overhaul the tax code and eliminate income taxes." Professors Jim Alm, Nora Lustig, and Steven Sheffrin discuss implications of changing the tax code. Click here to Download
Listen to the experts present their results (in Spanish) by clicking here..
4/1/2013: CEQ Working Paper 13 Now Available
The Working Paper, which is available here, provides an overview of the impact of taxes and social spending on inequality and poverty in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay.
3/21/2013: CEQ Featured at Colombia Equity Day Event
On March 12, CEQ's work in Colombia was featured prominently in an Equity Day event co-organized by the World Bank and the Government of Colombia. Follow the links below to view the event agenda and the PowerPoint presentation about CEQ.
- PowerPoint Presentation
3/13/13: Brazil eliminates federal indirect taxes on basic needs basket
On March 8, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff announced the end of federal indirect taxes on all items in the basic needs basket (primarily food), effective immediately. Although basic needs will still be taxed at the state level, this will reduce their cost by between 9.25% and 12.5%, depending on the product. The estimated yearly cost to the government of these tax expenditures is R$ 7.3 billion (about US$3.75 billion). The CEQ study for Brazil has shown that indirect taxes paid by the poor often surpass the cash benefits they receive from the government; this measure will therefore not only reduce inflation but also contribute to reducing poverty.
Listen to President Rouseff: Click here for video
1/31/13: Fiscal incidence studies were completed in seven countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. Four are in progress: Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Guatemala. Two are in the works: Ecuador and El Salvador.
1/13/13: Version 3 of Handbook is available, here.