Journal articles published externally

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Latin America and the Social Contract : Patterns of Social Spending and Taxation

2009, Breceda, Karla, Rigolini, Jamele, Saavedra, Jaime

This article analyzes the incidence of social spending and taxation by income quintile for seven Latin American countries, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Absolute levels of social spending in Latin America are fairly flat across income quintiles, a pattern similar to that in the United States and differing from the more progressive pattern of spending in the United Kingdom. The structure of taxation in Latin America is also similar to that of the United States. Because of high income inequality in Latin America and the US, the rich bear of most the burden, whereas the United Kingdom taxes the middle class to a greater extent. The analysis suggests that many Latin American countries are trapped in a vicious cycle in which the rich resist the expansion of the welfare state (because they bear most of its tax burden without receiving commensurate benefits), and their opposition to its expansion in turn maintains long-term inequalities.

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What Is the Impact of International Remittances on Poverty and Inequality in Latin America?

2008, Acosta, Pablo, Fajnzylber, Pablo, Lopez, Humberto

Workers' remittances have become a major source of income for developing countries. However, little is still known about their impact on poverty and inequality. Using a large cross-country panel dataset, we find that remittances in Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries have increased growth and reduced inequality and poverty. These results are robust to the use of different instruments that attempt to correct for the potential endogeneity of remittances. Household survey-based estimates for 10 LAC countries confirm that remittances have negative albeit relatively small inequality and poverty-reducing effects, even after imputations for the potential home earnings of migrants.