Nora Lustig –Samuel Z. Stone Professor of Economics, senior associate research fellow at CIPR and nonresident fellow at the Center for Global Development and the Inter-American Dialogue– has been awarded a US$580,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to study the impact of fiscal policy on inequality and poverty in low-income countries.
Lustig is co-founder and director of the Commitment to Equity (CEQ)–a project jointly sponsored by CIPR and the Department of Economics at Tulane University and the Inter-American Dialogue–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).
The grant 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 PhD 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.