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Comparing the Incidence of Taxes and Social Spending in Brazil and the United States - Working Paper 360

Sean Higgins
Authors registered in the RePEc Author Service: Nora Lustig () and Sean Higgins ()

No 360, Working Papers from Center for Global Development

Abstract: We perform the first comprehensive fiscal incidence analyses in Brazil and the US, including direct cash and food transfers, targeted housing and heating subsidies, public spending on education and health, and personal income, payroll, corporate income, property, and expenditure taxes. In both countries, primary spending is close to 40 percent of GDP. The US achieves higher redistribution through direct taxes and transfers, primarily due to underutilization of the personal income tax in Brazil and the fact that Brazil’s highly progressive cash and food transfer programs are small while larger transfer programs are less progressive. However, when health and non-tertiary education spending are added to income using the government cost approach, the two countries achieve similar levels of redistribution. This result may be a reflection of better-off households in Brazil opting out of public services due to quality concerns rather than a result of government effort to make spending more equitable.

Keywords: inequality; fiscal policy; taxation; social spending (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D31 H22 I38 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-lam, nep-ltv and nep-pbe
Date: 2014-03
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