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The Theory of Excess Burden and Optimal Taxation

  • Alan J. Auerbach

The purpose of this paper is to present the chronological development ofthe concept of excess burden and the related study of optimal tax theory. A main objective of this exercise is to uncover the interrelationships among various apparently distinct results, so as to bring out the basic structure of the entire problem.The paper includes a discussion of various measures of excess burden,focusing on issues of approximation, informational requirements, aggregation over individuals, and the effects of technology. Included in the presentation of optimal tax theory is a section on tax reform, as well as an application of the theory to the case where uncertainty is present.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w1025.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 1025.

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Date of creation: Nov 1982
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as in "Handbook of Public Economics," vol 1, A. Auerbach and M. Feldstein, eds. Amsterdam: Elsevier Science Publishers B.V., 1985.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:1025
Note: PE
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  1. Bradford, David F & Rosen, Harvey S, 1976. "The Optimal Taxation of Commodities and Income," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 94-101, May.
  2. Guesnerie, Roger, 1977. "On the direction of tax reform," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 179-202, April.
  3. Small, Kenneth A & Rosen, Harvey S, 1981. "Applied Welfare Economics with Discrete Choice Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(1), pages 105-30, January.
  4. Foster, Edward & Sonnenschein, Hugo, 1970. "Price Distortion and Economic Welfare," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 38(2), pages 281-97, March.
  5. Dixit, Avinash K, 1970. "On the Optimum Structure of Commodity Taxes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(3), pages 295-301, June.
  6. Harvey S. Rosen, 1978. "The Measurement of Excess Burden with Explicit Utility Functions," NBER Chapters, in: Research in Taxation, pages 121-135 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1970. "Increasing risk: I. A definition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 225-243, September.
  8. Hausman, Jerry A, 1981. "Exact Consumer's Surplus and Deadweight Loss," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 662-76, September.
  9. Hatta, Tatsuo, 1977. "A Theory of Piecemeal Policy Recommendations," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(1), pages 1-21, February.
  10. Atkinson, Anthony B & Stern, N H, 1974. "Pigou, Taxation and Public Goods," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(1), pages 119-28, January.
  11. Chipman, John S & Moore, James C, 1980. "Compensating Variation, Consumer's Surplus, and Welfare," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 933-49, December.
  12. Feldstein, Martin S, 1972. "Distributional Equity and the Optimal Structure of Public Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(1), pages 32-36, March.
  13. Weiss, Laurence, 1976. "The Desirability of Cheating Incentives and Randomness in the Optimal Income Tax," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(6), pages 1343-52, December.
  14. Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1985. "Moving and Housing Expenditure: Transaction Costs and Disequilibrium," NBER Working Papers 1012, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Roberts, Kevin, 1980. "Price-Independent Welfare Prescriptions," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 277-97, June.
  16. Boadway, Robin & Harris, Richard, 1977. "A characterization of piecemeal second best policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 169-190, October.
  17. Cooter, Robert, 1979. "A new expenditure function," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 103-110.
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