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.
9/23/2013 - ICEFI workshop
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
How redistributive is the United States compared to Brazil? If you want to know, click here
Handbook had a makeover; please see new version by clicking 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
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. To learn more, click here.
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.