Corina Rodríguez Enríquez, Natalia Gherardi and Darío Rossignolo
A consistent, planned policy of tax reform in Argentina, while badly needed, is currently on hold. In line with the dominant economic paradigm in the region (and the world), public spending is regarded as the main tool by which to reduce income inequalities, neglecting the potential of tax reform. Instead of comprehensive reform, therefore, there have been ad hoc changes to the tax system over the years, as well as the addition of specific taxes in response to fiscal needs or sectoral interests.
Perhaps the main reason for the absence of fiscal reform on the current public policy agenda is the multiplicity of interests involved together with a lack of political will. This chapter will evaluate the impact on gender equality of the current tax structure – particularly income tax and indirect taxes – as well as possible reforms. It is hoped that it will also encourage policy-makers in Argentina to take up the issue of comprehensive tax reform.
Following an overview of the economic and tax structure, and the key dimensions for the analysis of gender equality, the chapter looks at income taxes and indirect taxes, then presents the results of a policy simulation designed to make the tax system more equitable from a gender perspective. It then summarizes key findings and offers some policy suggestions to address them.
Argentina is a middle-income country in South America, with a population of 36 million (51 per cent women; 49 per cent men) and a GDP of US$270 billion. Life expectancy averages 73.8 years. Almost 30 per cent of the population is under 14 years old, while nearly 15 per cent is over 60 years old, with older women making up a substantial part of this group. Family organization has been slowly changing, with an increasing number of single-parent households and a decline in extended family households. Nuclear families now make up 55.7 per cent of all households, the majority (94 per cent) headed by a man. In contrast, women head 57 per cent of one-person households and 81.7 per cent of one-parent households.
Argentina's economy has undergone a number of crises and recoveries over the past 20 years. In 1991, after several years of hyperinflation, the local