IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Excess Burden: an ill defined concept?


  • Alberto Pench


Excess Burden: An Ill Defined Concept? ABSTRACT: The number and differences among alternative definitions of excess burden proposed in the literature, from seminal contributions by Marshall and Barone to the latest survey in the Handbook of Public Economics, stimulated the present paper where some of them are critically reviewed together with their ambiguities. Since its birth two notions of excess burden are available: an absolute notion (the excess burden of a single tax) and a relative one (the excess burden of a tax versus another): though distinct their differences blurred during years. The central thesis of this paper is that for excess burden to be a fruitful tool of analysis it should be interpreted as an intrinsically relative concept and the only way to avoid ambiguities in its interpretation is to define it in terms of either larger welfare loss of two equal yield taxes or tax structures or smaller revenue at a common final utility level.

Suggested Citation

  • Alberto Pench, 2006. "Excess Burden: an ill defined concept?," STUDI ECONOMICI, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2006(90), pages 43-57.
  • Handle: RePEc:fan:steste:v:html10.3280/ste2006-090003

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Single articles can be downloaded buying download credits, for info:

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Tobin, James, 1975. "Keynesian Models of Recession and Depression," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(2), pages 195-202, May.
    2. De Long, James Bradford & Summers, Lawrence H, 1986. "Is Increased Price Flexibility Stabilizing?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 1031-1044, December.
    3. Davidson, Paul, 1972. "Money and the Real World," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 82(325), pages 101-115, March.
    4. Mankiw, N. Gregory, 1992. "The reincarnation of Keynesian economics," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(2-3), pages 559-565, April.
    5. Bruce C. Greenwald & Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1993. "Financial Market Imperfections and Business Cycles," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(1), pages 77-114.
    6. King, Mervyn, 1994. "Debt deflation: Theory and evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(3-4), pages 419-445, April.
    7. James Tobin, 1993. "Price Flexibility and Output Stability: An Old Keynesian View," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 45-65, Winter.
    8. Thomas I. Palley, 2002. "Endogenous Money: What it is and Why it Matters," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(2), pages 152-180, May.
    9. David Romer, 1993. "The New Keynesian Synthesis," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 5-22, Winter.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fan:steste:v:html10.3280/ste2006-090003. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Angelo Ventriglia). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.