CIPR | Center For Inter-American Policy & Research

Tulane University

Commitment to Equity

Commitment to Equity (CEQ), directed by Nora Lustig, the Samuel Z. Stone Professor of Latin American Economics at Tulane University and Non-Resident Fellow at the Center for Global Development and the Inter-American Dialogue, was designed to analyze the impact of taxation and social spending on inequality and poverty in individual countries, and provide a roadmap for governments, multilateral institutions, and nongovernmental organizations in their efforts to build more equitable societies. The CEQ is a joint project of CIPR, the Department of Economics at Tulane University and the Inter-American Dialogue.

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.

Access the CEQ Working Paper Series here.
CEQ Handbook.


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Upcoming Events

Exploring the 2016 US Elections

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The US’s November elections are especially critical. The world’s power structures are undergoing dramatic changes, and so the internal political process of this world leader has even greater global consequences.

Looking beyond just the US’s foreign policy is key to understanding its actions. Over the next few months, the teaching programs at several Costa Rican institutions will focus on the following:

  • An analysis of succession of power within institutional structures.
  • The role of political parties (polarization).
  • The influence of changing demographics.
  • The geographic expression of social change.
  • The effect of the democratic process in the formulation and implementation of the US’s foreign policy towards Latin American in particular.

The University of Costa Rica, through its School of Political Science, and the Centro de Investigación y Estudios Políticos (CIEP), has joined forces with the Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones y su Instituto de Formación y Estudios en Democracia (IFED), as well as with the University of Tulane, through its Center for Inter-American Policy and Research (CIPR), for a series of outreach activities during the second half of 2016. These activities will utilize the resources at these educational and research institutions to promote a better understanding of the electoral process in the US.

The results of this upcoming election will have repercussions for the world, particularly in Latin American and Costa Rica. A broader, deeper understanding of the current situation will be useful for both universities and public policy decision-makers.

Participating institutions are confident that a proper analysis of this political process will lead to improved understanding and cooperation between the two nations.

Schedule of Activities


  • Thursday, 8/18: Talk on the United States’ electoral system by Diego Brenes, IFED.

  • Thursday, 9/1: Discussion on demographics and electoral geography in the US with Constantino Urcuyo and Jesús Guzmán.
  • Thursday, 9/22: Talk on Politics and Elections: Celeste Lay, Phd. Tulane University.

  • Thursday, 10/13: Discussion on elections and external politics: Carlos Murillo, Phd. in government and public policy.
  • Thursday, 10/27: Talk by Jenny Lincoln Fullbright from the US Embassy.

  • Monday, 11/10: Round table. Analysis of election results with Constantino Urcuyo, Felipe Alpízar, Nuria Marín, and Fernando Zeledón as moderator.