Taxation and Inequality in Latin America
Despite widespread economic growth and increasing social expenditures, Latin America remains one of the most unequal regions of the world. The region's highly regressive tax systems remain a huge hurdle to reducing poverty and inequality.
Issues in this Series
To explore policy options from the perspective of leading government, private sector, political, and civil society leaders, the Latin American Program partnered with Bogotá’s leading economic think tank, Fedesarrollo, to sponsor a public forum in Colombia on fiscal issues.
A paper based on Vito Tanzi's presentation at the August 28, 2014 LAP event, "Colombia: Hacia una nueva reforma tributaria," in Bogota, Colombia.
A summary report on the October 15, 2014 conference on tax reform in Mexico, co-hosted by the Latin American Program and CEPAL in Mexico City. (IN SPANISH)
This paper explores the aspects of political economy that have influenced processes of tax reform in Colombia over the last two decades.
With the March 11, 2014, inauguration of Michele Bachelet to a second, non-consecutive presidential term, Chile may be on track to enact its most significant tax reform in decades.
Progresividad y eficacia del gasto público en México: Precondición para una política recaudatoria efectiva
This paper explores ways in which Mexico can make fiscal policy more progressive and effective. (SPANISH)
This article explores the success of Uruguay’s 2006 tax reform in (re-)introducing a comprehensive and progressive personal income tax while re-balancing direct and indirect taxes, eliminating inefficient taxes, and strengthening tax enforcement and compliance.
In their paper, Maynor Cabrera and Aaron Schneider argue that taxation is a clear indicator of state capacity, and Guatemala’s challenges collecting tax revenue point to the country’s institutional and structural weaknesses.
Brazilian expert José Roberto Afonso, analyzes the political economy of tax reform in Brazil (Portuguese). Executive summary available in English.
Vito Tanzi's keynote speech at our taxation event on December 11, 2013.
Brazilian researcher Saulo Santos de Souza of the Federal University of Pernambuco explores the multiple ways that politics shape and constrain tax reform in the region.
The paper provides an overview of the recent literature about the impact of taxation on inequality in the region, reviewing the major conclusions of recent empirical work and comparing Latin America to other regions of the world.
Last year, the Wilson Center and the Universidad de San Andrés in Argentina convened a conference featuring leading tax experts throughout the Hemisphere. The results are summarized in this bulletin.