How much is inequality reduced by progressive taxation and government spending?

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Ingrid Woolard, Rebecca Metz, Gabriela Inchauste, Nora Lustig, Mashekwa Maboshe, Catriona Purfield on 28 October 2015

Through progressive taxation and pro-poor social spending, the SA fiscal system reduces income inequality significantly. The extent of this reduction is larger than in twelve comparable middle-income countries measured similarly. Nevertheless, ‘final’ income (i.e. income after major taxes, government transfers and spending) remains more unequal than in comparator countries. While the fiscal system has an important role to play in reducing inequality, interventions to improve the distribution of wages, salaries and capital income are needed.