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CEQ Working Paper No 18 (English): Social Public Spending, Taxes, Redistribution Of Income, And Poverty In Costa Rica

Social Public Spending, Taxes, Redistribution Of Income, And Poverty In Costa Rica
Working Paper No. 18

A working document by:
Pablo Sauma
Instituto de Investigaciones en Ciencias Económicas, IICE
Juan Diego Trejos
University of Costa Rica

Costa Rica allocates 20% of its GDP to finance a broad range of social programs. Social spending is funded primarily through indirect taxes, as well as through specific social security contributions. Using market income as a reference, only direct taxes turn out to be clearly progressive, as opposed to indirect taxes and specific contributions to the social security system, which tend to be rather neutral in relative terms. Nonetheless, most social programs are progressive; in fact, some of them are very progressive ‘€“especially cash transfers, which are highly focalized‘€” resulting in reductions in poverty and, principally, inequality. The study highlights the enormous importance of increasing the magnitude and progressiveness of taxes to render public social spending sustainable, as well as to strengthen certain targeted programs with a high impact on the poorest.

Access the working document here:
Updated March 2014
CEQ Working Paper No 18: Social Public Spending, Taxes, Redistribution Of Income, And Poverty In Costa Rica


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Latin American Writers Series: Alberto Barrera Tyszka

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Ecuadorian writer and Tulane Visiting Scholar Gabriela Alemán interviews Venezuelan writer Alberto Barrera Tyszka about his life, interests, and influences. Their discussion will be followed by an open Q&A and an informal reception. This event will be held in Spanish.

About the Latin American Writers Series

This series brings together Latin America’s most representative creative voices and the editorial entrepreneurs that publish them. By way of interviews conducted by renowned Ecuadorian writer Gabriela Alemán and presentations of various editorial missions, the guests will shed light on a literary world shaped by the contemporary issues of the continent. Moving forward, their conversations will comprise the centerpiece of a digital archive that introduces their ideas to a global audience.

Este serie reúne a los autores más representativos de la escritura continental y los editores que los publican. A través de entrevistas con la reconocida escritora ecuatoriana Gabriela Alemán y presentaciones de proyectos editoriales, los invitados explorarán los vínculos entre el mundo literario y la realidad continental. Sus conversaciones se convertirán después en el eje de un archivo digital que busca llevar estas ideas a un público global.

About the Author

Born in Caracas, Alberto Barrera Tyszka has published over a dozen works of poetry, short story, chronicle, novel, and biography. His most recent publications include the novels Patria o Muerte (2015) and Rating (2011), the poetic anthology La inquietud (2013), the collection of chronicles Un país a la semana (2013), and the short story collection Crímenes (2009). In 2005, he collaborated with Cristina Marcano to write the definitive biography of Hugo Chávez, Hugo Chávez sin uniforme: una historia personal (2005). Patria o muerte won the 2015 Premio Tusquets de Novela, and his novel La enfermedad, translated into English as The Sickness (2010), received the 2006 Herralde Award. Barrera also writes for television and has scripted soap operas for Venezuelan, Mexican, Colombian, and Argentinian networks.