Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

Commitment to Equity Conference convenes researchers and multilateral organizations

November 8th, 2013

The Commitment to Equity Conference was held on Tulane‘€™s campus October 17-18, 2013. The conference convened researchers from across the Western Hemisphere, as well as representatives from multilateral organizations including, the World Bank, the Gates Foundation, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). The conference was co-organized by the Center for Inter-American Policy and Research (CIPR), the Department of Economics at Tulane University, and the Inter-American Dialogue and had 50 participants in attendance.

From left: Emiro Molina, Jaime Ruiz Tagle, Juan Pablo Luna, Jose Manuel Gomez, Jose Andres Oliva, Enrique de la Rosa, Alfredo Gonzalez, Sean Higgins, George Gray Molina, Nora Lustig, Peter Hakim, Gargee Ghosh, Louise Cord, Luis F. Lopez Calva, Margarita Beneke de Sanfeliú, Cristhina Llerena, Andrea Vigorito, Marisa Bucheli, Manuel Deshon, Florencia Amabile, Fernando Esponda, Thomas Reese, Renato Vargas, Arachu Castro and Miguel Jaramillo.

Commitment to Equity is a joint project of CIPR and the Department of Economics at Tulane University and the Inter-American Dialogue, directed by Nora Lustig, Senior Research Fellow at CIPR and Samuel Z. Stone Professor of Latin American Economics at Tulane, and Peter Hakim, President Emeritus of the Inter-American Dialogue. The CEQ was designed to analyze the impact of taxation and social spending on inequality and poverty in individual countries, and provide a roadmap for governments, multilateral institutions, and nongovernmental organizations in their efforts to build more equitable societies.

‘€œWe want to know who are the people bearing most of the burden of taxes and who are the people getting the most benefits through government transfers and public spending on education and health,‘€ says Lustig. In addition, Lustig notes that the ultimate aim is to, ‘€œbring the CEQ results into the policy debate and influence the policy decisions taken in these countries.‘€

Employing the methodology and indicators created by the CEQ, researchers developed assessments for individual countries, which they presented at the conference. Currently, the CEQ has completed assessments for eight Latin American countries including, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. Preliminary assessments for Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Guatemala were also presented at the conference. To access the country reports, visit the CEQ website.

Work in progress for Honduras, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Paraguay and Venezuela was considered during a closed workshop on the first day, together with topical studies including evaluations of the gender and political economy dimensions of redistributive policy. The conference was inaugurated with a keynote presentation by Nora Lustig entitled ‘€œThe Incidence of Benefits and Taxes in Latin America: An Overview.‘€ On the second day of the conference, completed assessments were presented for Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay Costa Rica, El Salvador and Guatemala. A final panel presented tools for monitoring equity outcomes currently existent on the Web. Panels were chaired by George Gray-Molina (UNDP), John Scott (CIDE), Joost Draaisma (World Bank), Erwin Tiongson (World Bank), Luis F. Lopez Calva (World Bank) Ludovico Feoli (CIPR), Miguel Jaramillo (GRADE), Peter Hakim (Inter-American Dialogue), Humberto Lopez (World Bank), Louise Cord (World Bank), Jim Alm (Tulane Economics), and Judy Morrison (Inter-American Development Bank).

During a special lunch session, representatives from multilateral organizations presented their organizations‘€™ current thinking about what needs to be done to successfully address the problems of poverty, inequality, and social inclusion. Participants in this roundtable discussion included Gargee Ghosh of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; George Gray-Molina, Chief Economist at the United Nations Development Programme‘€™s Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean; Humberto Lopez, Director at Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network and the World Bank of Latin America and the Caribbean; and, Judy Morrison, Senior Advisor of the Gender and Diversity Division at the Inter-American Development Bank.

The collaborative work done by researchers involved in the CEQ project will serve as a springboard for future research initiatives. While currently focused on assessments in Latin America, the CEQ plans to extend its trusted and replicable model to other world regions.

Photo from the workshop on the first day of the conference.

This conference was generously supported by CIPR, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean (RBLAC)/Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo (AECID), and the World Bank Poverty Reduction and Gender Group, Latin America and Caribbean Region.

To find out more about the CEQ, visit the new website here.

To read the New Wave article on the CEQ conference, click here.

For more details about the CEQ conference, please click here.

General Latin America + People
Nora Lustig
Professor - Economics, Samuel Z. Stone Chair of Latin American Economics