1st Edition

Taxation and Inequality in Latin America New Perspectives on Political Economy and Tax Regimes

Edited By Philip Fehling, Hans-Jürgen Burchardt Copyright 2023
    320 Pages 34 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Taxation and Inequality in Latin America takes a heterodox political economy approach, focusing on Latin America, where current problems of taxation have existed for a century and great wealth contrasts with abject poverty. The book analyzes the relation of natural resource wealth, allocational politics and the limited role of taxation for redistribution, and progressive resource mobilization. By drawing on the political economy of tax regimes, the book considers the specific conditions of taxation in Latin America, which apply to a large part of the Global South and more than 100 countries specializing in the extraction and export of raw materials. This book will cover:

    • taxation and the dominance of raw material export sectors;
    • taxation and allocational politics;
    • new perspectives on political economy and tax regimes.

    Scholars and advanced students of political economy, political science, development studies, and fiscal sociology will find several key issues in tax research from a novel angle. The book provides an analytical orientation that relates central questions of taxation to patterns of regional political economy, thereby opening up the debate with tax scholars from other world regions of the Global South.

    Table of contents

    1. Introduction: Reorienting the Tax Debate. Political Economy and Tax Regimes in Latin America.
    2. Philip Fehling & Hans-Jürgen Burchardt

      Part I Taxation and the Dominance of Raw Material Export Sectors

    3. Natural Resource Wealth and Fiscal Institutions in Latin America since Independence
    4. Luis Bértola & Cecilia Lara & Camilo Martínez

    5. Fiscal Revenues from Hydrocarbons and Minerals in Latin America: Challenges in an Era of Unprecedented Decarbonization and Growing Digitalization
    6. Juan Pablo Jiménez & Andrea Podestá

    7. The Political Economy of Mobilizing Tax Resources in Bolivia
    8. Verónica Paz Arauco & Wilson Jiménez Pozo

    9. Tax Culture: A conceptual proposal and empirical approach to the economic elite in Chile
    10. Jorge Atria

    11. Tax Evasion and Capital Flight in Resource-Rich Latin America: What we can learn from Argentina
    12. Verónica Grondona


      Part II Taxation and Allocational Politics

    13. The Political Economy of Failed Progressive Fiscal Reforms in Latin America
    14. Rafael Domínguez Martín

    15. Redistributive Threats, Development Models and Taxation in Latin America
    16. Gabriel Ondetti

    17. A Close Relationship with the Economic Elite: The Historical Roots of the Poor Mexican Tax State
    18. Mónica Unda-Gutiérrez

    19. Business Coordination and Regressive Taxation in Latin America
    20. Néstor Castañeda

    21. Ground rent, capital accumulation and the limits of taxation in resource-rich countries. The case of Argentina (1993-2020)
    22. Gastón Caligaris

    23. Tax Regime and Exchange Rates in Uruguay. Instruments of appropriation of Agrarian Ground Rent
    24. Gabriel Oyhantçabal Benelli

      Part III New Perspectives on Political Economy and Tax Regimes

    25. Raw materials, tax reforms and sustainable development: Lessons from Latin America
    26. Hans-Jürgen Burchardt

    27. Contours of Rent-Based Societies: Concluding Remarks and New Perspectives on Political Economy and Taxation

    Philip Fehling



    Philip Fehling is Scientific Coordinator of the Center for Advanced Latin American Studies (CALAS) at the University of Kassel, Germany.

    Hans-Jürgen Burchardt is Professor of International Relations, University of Kassel, Germany.

    José Antonio Ocampo, Minister of Finance and Public Credit of Colombia, former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean:

    Tax reform is one of the most pressing issues in contemporary Latin America, a region historically plagued by excessive inequality, high dependence on natural resource exploitation and unacceptable levels of tax evasion. This edited volume provides an excellent examination of the implications of fiscal policy on the raw material sector and the way to design adequate tax policies to manage it.

    Claudia Sanhueza Riveros, Undersecretary of Finance in the Chilean Ministry of Finance:

    Tax systems should reflect social preferences for redistribution, and while the vast majority of people in Latin America believe that inequalities are unfair, our tax systems and social services do not do enough to address these social and economic inequalities. This book offers a vision from political economy to analyze the relationship between natural resource wealth, allocational politics, and the limited role of tax regimes for redistribution and progressive resource mobilization. A piece of knowledge that will help to understand the current status quo and identify tools to move forward.