The Brazilian constitutional paradox: social rights cum regressive taxation

Vol. 39 No. 2 (2019)

Apr-Jun / 2019
Published April 1, 2019
PDF-Portuguese (Pt-BR)
PDF-Portuguese (Pt-BR)

How to Cite

Fandiño, Pedro, and Celia Lessa Kerstenetzky. 2019. “The Brazilian Constitutional Paradox: Social Rights Cum Regressive Taxation”. Brazilian Journal of Political Economy 39 (2), 306-27. https://doi.org/10.1590/0101-31572019-2914.

The Brazilian constitutional paradox: social rights cum regressive taxation

Pedro Fandiño
Doutorando no Programa de Pós-Graduação em Políticas Públicas, Estratégias e Desenvolvimento da Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro – PPED-UFRJ, Rio de Janeiro/RJ, Brasil.
Celia Lessa Kerstenetzky
Professora Titular do Instituto de Economia da Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro – IE/UFRJ, Rio de Janeiro/RJ, Brasil.
Brazilian Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 39 No. 2 (2019), Apr-Jun / 2019, Pages 306-327

Abstract

This essay reviews the Brazilian Constitutional paradox, the combination of expansion of social rights cum regressive taxation, by tracing it back to the Constitution-making process. This process shows the regressive feature of the Brazilian tax system, which originates in the so-called 1988 Citizen Constitution, not to derive from the absence of a thorough, technically consistent, proposal of progressive taxation. This reinforces the cogency of the political hypothesis: “social expenditure, no problem, provided the taxation is not progressive”.

JEL Classification: P16; H29.


Keywords: Brazilian 1988 Constitution, constitutional paradox, progressive taxation