Indirect taxation and gender equity: Evidence from South Africa

Type Journal Article - Feminist Economics
Title Indirect taxation and gender equity: Evidence from South Africa
Volume 18
Issue 3
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2012
Page numbers 25-54
This study adds to the growing literature on the distributional effects of indirect or consumption taxes in developing countries by exploring whether these taxes have differential gender outcomes. Using data from Statistics South Africa’s 2000 Income and Expenditure Survey, the study investigates differences in tax incidence between ‘‘female-type’’ and ‘‘male-type’’ households, classified according to their demographic and economic attributes. The results suggest that zero-rating a well-targeted selection of basic foodstuffs and fuel for household use is important in protecting female-type households, especially those in the lowest quintiles and with children, from bearing an otherwise disproportionate share of the tax burden. In contrast, high taxes on alcohol, tobacco, and fuel for private transport result in a larger incidence on male-type households. The study also suggests ways in which the indirect tax structure could be refined to further reduce the large gender (and income) inequities that exist in South Africa.

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