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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