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Equity in the public budget

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Equity in the public budget

Author: Martin, Juan Physical Description: páginas. 17-28 Date: December 1997 ECLAC symbol: LC/G.1986-P


This article aims to make a walk-through in the virtual reality of budgetary and fiscal matters in order to identify the possible degrees of freedom to achieve a higher level of convergence between the public discourse on equity and the real content of public policies aimed at that goal. To this end, the author explores possible answers to four questions: what is the current meaning of the concept of equity; how much leeway is there in the field of taxation for expanding resources and improving vertical equity; what means are there for giving priority to the objective of equity in managing public expenditure; and how could greater dynamic consistency be ensured between growth and equity. He concludes that it would be possible to make considerable progress in terms of social equity in the fiscal field, but this would call for top-level political will, backed up by active public policies in a serious, sustained and consistent effort. In order for that political will to go beyond the levels of mere declarations or clientage, it must be directed towards society at large, clearly setting forth the priorities involved, and in order to avoid it being frustrated, it must be based on operational methods that combine social participation with the creative and judicious use of public policy instruments.