Understanding who benefits from fuel price subsidies and the welfare impact of increasing fuel prices is key to designing, and gaining public support for, subsidy reform. This paper updates evidence for developing countries on the magnitude of the welfare impact of subsidy reform and its distribution across income groups, incorporating more recent studies and expanding the number of countries. These studies confirm that a very large share of benefits from price subsidies goes to high-income households, further reinforcing existing income inequalities.
The policy of maintaining tight control of domestic energy prices has characterized the political and economic environment in most Arab countries, together with many other parts of the world, for decades. The objectives behind such a policy range from overall welfare objectives such as expanding energy access and protecting poor households’ incomes; to economic development objectives such as fostering industrial growth and smoothing domestic consumption; and to political considerations, including the distribution of oil and natural gas rents in resource-rich countries.
Matthew Saunders and Karen Schneider. Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics. June 2000. Australia is only one case in this international overview of problems with subsidies. AUSTRALIA, CANADA, UNITED STATES, JAPAN, EUROPEAN UNION, FORMER SOVIET UNION, EASTERN EUROPE, CHINA, INDONESIA, KOREA, THAILAND, INDIA, SOUTH AFRICA, MIDDLE EAST, MEXICO, ARGENTINA.