The Unequal Benefits of Fuel Subsidies : A Review of Evidence for Developing Countries

Author/Editor:

David Coady ; Javier Arze del Granado

Publication Date:

September 1, 2010

Electronic Access:

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Disclaimer: This Working Paper should not be reported as representing the views of the IMF.The views expressed in this Working Paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the IMF or IMF policy. Working Papers describe research in progress by the author(s) and are published to elicit comments and to further debate

Summary:

This paper reviews evidence on the impact of fuel subsidy reform on household welfare in developing countries. On average, the burden of subsidy reform is neutrally distributed across income groups; a $0.25 decrease in the per liter subsidy results in a 6 percent decrease in income for all groups. More than half of this impact arises from the indirect impact on prices of other goods and services consumed by households. Fuel subsidies are a costly approach to protecting the poor due to substantial benefit leakage to higher income groups. In absolute terms, the top income quintile captures six times more in subsidies than the bottom. Issues that need to be addressed when undertaking subsidy reform are also discussed, including the need for a new approach to fuel pricing in many countries.

Series:

Working Paper No. 10/202

Subject:

English

Publication Date:

September 1, 2010

ISBN/ISSN:

9781455205325/1018-5941

Stock No:

WPIEA2010202

Format:

Paper

Pages:

23

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