The Impact of Uruguay’s 2007 Tax Reform on Equity and Efficiency

The Impact of Uruguay’s 2007 Tax Reform on Equity and Efficiency

In 2007, the Uruguayan government implemented a new tax reform which introduced a new progressive labour income tax, a flat capital income tax, and reduced some indirect taxes, with the objective of improving fiscal balance, income distribution and economic growth. This paperpresents an evaluation of the impact of such tax reform on equity and efficiency on the basis of data derived from the Encuesta Continua de Hogares (ECH) for the years 2006 and 2009. Using a Difference-in-Differences technique, the paper shows that the new tax system lowered inequality by 2 Gini points without producing any discernible disincentive effect. These results contrast with the conclusions of supply side-economics and suggest that suitably designed reforms of direct taxation can simultaneously achieve the goals of equity and efficiency.

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