Works for Taxes: Financing Infrastructure in Peru

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Since the mid 1990's, the Government of Peru implemented private public partnership systems to deliver quality public infrastructure at a faster pace. One of those systems, adopted in 2008 to accelerate the implementation of priority public infrastructure projects across the country is called Works for Taxes (“Obras por Impuestos”). This system allows any private company or consortium to finance and implement public infrastructure projects prioritized by any level of Government in Peru, and later recover the total amount of its investment as a credit when filing Corporate Income Tax. Since its adoption in 2008, companies based in Peru have increasingly worked under this scheme. As of December 2017, 307 projects had been implemented using the system, for more than US$ 3.6 Billion, and involving 102 companies across different public infrastructure areas. The reasoning behind the system is that using it, the Government is able to forward financial resources required to complete prioritized projects from private companies paying corporate income tax in Peru, and to deliver these works faster than traditionally. Under this system the private partner may choose –among government prioritized projects- to finance one or more works (e.g., a road needed near towns surrounding one of its locations, which will greatly benefit its workers' families in the area but also their communities). In this thesis, I address the question of whether the Peruvian Works for Taxes system created in 2008 helped solve the infrastructure under provision problem or not. For this purpose, I carried out an observational longitudinal study over panel data containing information on all projects developed in Peru under this system, from its starting point in 2008 to December 2017. Through this analysis I found that only after critical and successive legal adjustments, the system became able to serve its intended policy objective with increasing geographical reach and covering a widening variety of social services, though still with a limited number of participant companies.

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