CIPR | Center For Inter-American Policy & Research

Tulane University

Commitment to Equity


CEQ: Commitment to Equity

A Diagnostic Framework to Assess Governments’ Fiscal Policies

Director: Nora Lustig, Samuel Z. Stone Professor of Latin American Economics, Tulane University; and Non-resident Fellow, Center for Global Development and Inter-American Dialogue.

What is CEQ?

Led by Nora Lustig (Tulane University) the Commitment to Equity (CEQ) project is 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.

The CEQ uses incidence analysis and a specially designed diagnostic questionnaire to address three questions: How much redistribution and poverty reduction is being accomplished in each country through social spending, subsidies and taxes? How progressive are revenue collection and government spending? Within the limits of fiscal prudence, what could be done to increase redistribution and poverty reduction in each country through changes in taxation and spending? CEQ is the first framework to comprehensively assess the tax and benefits system in developing countries and to make the assessment comparable across countries and over time. Initially, CEQ has focused on Latin America.

The comprehensive incidence analysis measures how each component of the tax and benefit system is distributed and the overall impact of taxes and benefits on an array of poverty and inequality indicators. It also calculates effectiveness indicators, progressivity indicators, incidence by decile, coverage and leakages by program, and estimates the probability of remaining poor after direct transfers. (For more read the handbook)

The diagnostic questionnaire is designed to assess how aligned fiscal policies are with supporting a minimum living standard and human capital accumulation, as well as with reducing inequality. The objective is to evaluate efforts based on whether governments: i. collect and allocate enough resources to support a minimum living standard for all; ii. collect and distribute resources equitably; iii. ensure that spending is fiscally sustainable and that programs are of good quality and incentive compatible; iv. collect and publish relevant information, as well as are subject to independent evaluations.

CEQ/Latin America is a joint project of the Inter-American Dialogue (IAD) and Tulane University’s Center for Inter-American Policy and Research (CIPR) and Department of Economics. The project has received financial support from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF), the General Electric Foundation, the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the United Nations Development Programme’s Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNDP/RBLAC), and the World Bank.

Click here to access the CEQ Working Paper Series
Click here to access the Commitment to Equity website

Click here to access the CEQ Handbook. Note this is a working paper.

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Upcoming Events

Social Equity Matters & Greener Houses Can Help: talk with Manuel Antonio Aguilar

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In this session, Manuel Antonio Aguilar, President of CASSA will discuss the background of social housing, the current technologies available, the variables needed for a holistic approach to green design for self-sufficient houses, CASSA’s experiences in developing intelligent social housing, the lessons learned through the process in Guatemala and the potential for this type of solutions worldwide.

CASSA is a Guatemalan company focused on self-sufficient social housing that provides their users with 3 vital services: Clean Water, Clean Energy and Sanitation. It is projected that by 2030 1.6 billion people will live in inadequate housing globally. However, there are solutions for this problem. In 2014 our generation finds itself in a "perfect storm" where different variables have collided, where technologies and knowledge are finally accessible everywhere, including developing countries. Efficient lighting, water filters, renewable energies, and waste management tools can easily be manufactured, transported and installed even in the most isolated communities, ushering in the era of intelligent social housing. Sustainable design can improve the quality of life through a dignified dwelling that provides its occupants with resources and services in a clean and renewable way.

Manuel Antonio Aguilar is a social entrepreneur from Guatemala focused on the Base of the Pyramid. He graduated from Harvard University in 2006 with Master's in Astrophysics and a Bachelor with Honors in Astrophysics and Physics. In 2010, he co-founded Quetsol, a solar energy Company focused on rural electrification, where he served as Director of Technology and Board Chairman. For his work, he has received awards and recognition in local and international press and has participated in high-level forums in several countries. Previously, he worked for three years in quantitative finance and co-founded a global macro hedge fund in the United States.

This event is co-sponsored by the Payson Center for International Development, CIPR, and Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship at Tulane University.

Event flyer can be found here.

Social and Environmental Safeguards, Policies and Practices in International Development: Discussion with Carlos Pérez-Brito

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Currently a social specialist from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Carlos Pérez-Brito is responsible for managing social and environmental safeguards in the public and private sectors projects. Before joining the IDB, Mr. Pérez-Brito was a human development specialist for the World Bank and USAID. He has a bachelor degree from Loyola University, New Orleans and a Masters in Latin American Studies from Tulane University with emphasis in international development. He was also a visiting scholar for the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

Mr. Pérez-Brito’s talk will describe the evolving practice of using social and environmental review criteria as conditions for bank-related projects.

Co-Sponsored with the Tulane Center for Inter-American Policy and Research (CIPR).

Event flyer can be found here.