Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

Nora Lustig awarded Gates Foundation grant

November 22nd, 2013

Nora Lustig, Samuel Z. Stone Professor of Economics and senior associate research fellow at CIPR, has been awarded a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to study the impact of fiscal policy on inequality and poverty in low-income countries.

Lustig is founder and director of the Commitment to Equity (CEQ), a project sponsored jointly by CIPR, the economics department at TULANE and the Inter-American Dialogue, which 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 (www.commitmenttoequity.org). To date, the project has analyzed and compared the incidence of taxation and social spending in twelve Latin American countries, and studies are currently under way in three additional Latin American countries and six countries in other regions of the world.

The grant, which totals $581,162, will enable Lustig and her team to implement the analysis in two pilot countries in Africa, Ghana and Tanzania, as well as to adapt the CEQ methodology to encompass the idiosyncrasies of low-income countries. She will work alongside co-principal investigators James Alm, Chair of the Economics Department, and Sean Higgins, Economics Ph.D. student.

By undertaking a thorough and transparent analysis of who bears the burden of taxation and who receives the benefits of public spending, the project ultimately hopes to foster evidence-based policy discussion and, ideally, implementation of reforms related to taxation, public spending, and social programs in the two countries.