The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

User Fees

  • Edwin S. Mills
Reference work entry


The genealogy of the term ‘user fees’ (or, synonymously, ‘user charges’) is neither long nor coherent. Neither Marshall nor Pigou appears to have used the term. The term was in common usage in the USA during the early post-World War II years; see e.g. Stockfisch (1960). Throughout its short history, the term seems to have been employed much more frequently in the United States than elsewhere. Since about 1970, the term has appeared in the indexes of most US public finance textbooks.


Benefit taxes Mills, E. S. Tiebout hypothesis User charges: see user fees User fees 

JEL Classifications

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  1. Rosen, H. 1985. Public finance. Homewood: Richard D. Irwin.Google Scholar
  2. Stockfisch, J.A. 1960. Fees and service charges as a source of city revenue: A case study of Los Angeles. National Tax Journal 13 (2): 97–121.Google Scholar
  3. Tiebout, C. 1956. A pure theory of local expenditures. Journal of Political Economy 64: 416–424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edwin S. Mills
    • 1
  1. 1.