Taxation and Inequality in Developing Countries: Lessons from the Recent Experience of Latin America

B. Martorano*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This paper aims to advance understanding about the relationship between taxation and inequality in developing countries, focusing on the recent experience of Latin America. Tax changes promoted equality since the early 2000s. In particular, the increasing contribution of direct taxes with respect to indirect taxes promoted the progressivity of the tax system and contributed to the reduction of inequality. Yet the effectiveness of taxation in promoting equality in Latin America is still limited by several factors such as the low average tax revenue, the inability to tax top incomes and the low contribution of taxes on property.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)256-273
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of International Development
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018

JEL classifications

  • h23 - "Taxation and Subsidies: Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies"
  • h71 - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
  • d63 - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
  • o15 - "Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration"


  • inequality
  • Latin America
  • redistribution
  • tax policy
  • developing world
  • income distribution
  • socioeconomic status
  • tax system
  • TAX

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