IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Is it Time to Bury Dead-Weight Loss?


  • David George


The conventional argument to explain how taxes distort points out that the relative mix of private goods is altered by taxes. This argument breaks down, however, when it is recognized that a lump-sum alters the relative mix of goods as long as goods differ their income elasticities. This paper argues that claims of tax distortion rest on the assumption that collective decisions to alter consumption do not alter marginal benefits while private decisions to alter consumption do, and that this assumption is problematic. The view of government as an external, nondemocratic force is best understood as an outcome of the pre-democratic roots of economic thinking as well as the skeptical public-choice view of government as comprising self-interested actors.

Suggested Citation

  • David George, 2012. "Is it Time to Bury Dead-Weight Loss?," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(1), pages 1-13, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:revpoe:v:24:y:2012:i:1:p:1-13 DOI: 10.1080/09538259.2011.636595

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

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

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Allgoewer, Elisabeth, 2003. "Emil Lederer: Business Cycles, Crises, and Growth," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 25(03), pages 327-348, September.
    2. Darity, William A, Jr & Horn, Bobbie L, 1985. "Rudolf Hilferding: The Dominion of Capitalism and the Dominion of Gold," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 363-368, May.
    3. Michaelides, Panayotis G. & Milios, John G., 2005. "The Influence of the German Historical School on Schumpeter," MPRA Paper 74471, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Screpanti, Ernesto & Zamagni, Stefano, 2005. "An Outline of the History of Economic Thought," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, edition 2, number 9780199279142, June.
    5. Daniele Besomi, 2006. "'Marxism Gone Mad': Tugan-Baranovsky on crises, their possibility and their periodicity," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(2), pages 147-171.
    6. Colacchio, Giorgio, 2005. "On the origins of non-proportional economic dynamics: A note on Tugan-Baranowsky's traverse analysis," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 503-521, December.
    7. Gottfried Haberler, 1950. "Joseph Alois Schumpeter 1883–1950," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(3), pages 333-372.
    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:taf:revpoe:v:24:y:2012:i:1:p:1-13. 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: (Chris Longhurst). 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.