Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Assorted Pakistan

Demand Analysis For Tax Reform In Pakistan
Angus Deaton and F. Grimard
Abstract: Pakistan, like many LDCs, derives most of government revenue from indirect taxation. However, the system of taxes and subsidies has grown up piecemeal over the years. Previous exercises in price reform for Pakistan have been forced to make very restrictive assumptions about consumer preferences, and have typically used demand systems that prejudge what are the desirable directions of price reform. In this paper, the methodology of Deaton (1988, 1991) is extended and applied to the 1984-85 Household Income and Expenditure Survey. A theory of quality variation based on separable preferences is developed, and the implications for welfare and empirical analysis laid out. The prices of oils and fats and of sugar do not vary very much in the survey data, and the symmetry and homogeneity restrictions from the theory play an important part in obtaining sharp estimates of own and cross-price elasticities. The parameter estimates suggest that there are significant cross-price elasticities between the high-calorie foods and the presence of these substitution patterns means that the effects of potential price reforms are quite different from those that would be estimated using the traditional assumptions. Based on demand patterns alone, it would be desirable to raise government revenue by raising the consumer price of rice. However, in Pakistan it is not generally possible to decouple the producer and consumer prices of rice.

Zakat and Inequality: Some Evidence from Pakistan

This paper presents empirical evidence on the extent to which zakat---a form of religiously-mandated charity under Islam---achieves its intended objective in Pakistan. Detailed income and expenditure data from Pakistan's Household Income and Expenditure Survey for 1987-88 are used to construct two income distributions---one containing the distribution of income which would have obtained if relevant forms of charity were not given, and one containing the distribution of income which obtains under a regime in which such charitable giving takes place. Atkinson-Kolm-Sen (AKS) ethical relative indices of income inequality are computed for Pakistan and each of its four provinces, for each of these two income distributions, and are compared over a range of parameter values. Evidence is found that zakat does redistribute from the better off to the worse-off, and so achieves some reduction in measured income inequality in Pakistan. Both intra-province and inter-province components of over-all inequality decline, though the amount of change is generally small. These conclusions are shown to be robust to a wide range of normative values the investigator may select.

An Islamic Perspective on Inequality in Pakistan;
This paper examines the distribution of income in Pakistan, and in each of its four provinces, from an explicit and formal Islamic perspective. A cardinally significant Atkinson--Kolm--Sen relative index of inequality reflecting that perspective is proposed and computed from the full HIES data series for the years 1984-85, 1985-86, 1986-87, and 1987-88. There is evidence of a significant decline in overall inequality in Pakistan from 1984-85 to 1987-88, but the level of inequality remains very high. Inter--province and inter--urban/rural differences in inequality profiles within Pakistan and each of its provinces are found to be generally less significant than intra--province and intra--urban/rural differences.

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