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Sanjeev Gupta is a senior policy fellow with research interests in fiscal policy in developing and resource-rich economies as well as in fragile states, aid, corruption, energy subsidies, digitalization and public finances, age-related spending, global health, and inequality. Previously, he was deputy director of the Fiscal Affairs Department of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and has worked in its African and European Departments.
Prior to joining the IMF, Gupta was a fellow of the Kiel Institute of World Economics, Germany; professor in the Administrative Staff College of India, Hyderabad; and Secretary of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry. Gupta has authored/coauthored over 150 papers, many of which are published in well-known academic journals, and has authored/coauthored/coedited 13 books. The most recent ones, all published by the IMF, include: The Economics of Public Health Care Reform in Advanced and Emerging Economies, 2012; Energy Subsidy Reform: Lessons and Implications, 2013; Equitable and Sustainable Pensions: Challenges and Experiences, 2014; Fiscal Policy and Inequality, September 2015; Fiscal Politics, April 2017; and Digital Revolutions in Public Finance, November 2017.
A large proportion of revenue gains over the last two decades has come from countries’ efforts to improve the design and compliance of consumption and other indirect taxes, particularly the VAT (value-added tax); in doing so, the objective has been to minimize VAT’s regressive effects by exempting sales of small businesses below a threshold (where the poor typically tend to buy) as well as imposing zero tax on certain food and other products which take up a large proportion of consumption of poor households. Less attention has gone to expanding the coverage of potentially more progressive taxes, such as personal income and property taxes.
I spoke at the 30th Regional Seminar on Fiscal Policy, hosted by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). This year’s seminar focused on the role of fiscal policy in achieving more inclusive and equitable economic growth to meet the 2030 agenda of the SDGs.