Fiscal Policy, Poverty, and Inequality in a Constrained Environment: The Case of the West Bank and Gaza

This report analyzes the distributional impacts of the main taxes and transfers on households’ welfare in the West Bank and Gaza. The analysis uses the Commitment to Equity methodology, enabling comparison of the results to other countries where this framework has been applied. The report assesses the effects of government taxation, social expenditure, and indirect subsidies on poverty and inequality in the West Bank and Gaza. The results indicate that the combination of taxes and transfers modelled in the West Bank and Gaza reduces inequality by 6.5 Gini points but increases the national poverty headcount by 8.4 percentage points. These fiscal policy outcomes on poverty and inequality reduction are below average in terms of desirability compared to other lower-middle-income countries. The taxes and transfers modelled in the West Bank and Gaza achieve most inequality reduction through in-kind benefits from public basic education and public hospitals, followed by the Cash Transfer Program and the value-added tax (VAT).