The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Tax Incidence

  • Gilbert E. Metcalf
Reference work entry


Tax incidence is the study of who bears the burden of a tax. It distinguishes between statutory incidence (the legal requirement to remit a tax) and economic incidence (the change in real income or wealth resulting from a tax). Considerable advances have been made since the mid-1980s in our understanding of the burden of taxes in imperfectly competitive models as well as in intertemporal models. In particular, analysing lifetime tax burdens can give markedly different results for many taxes. Increases in computing power and the availability of large-scale data-sets have also enriched our understanding of tax incidence.


Ad valorem taxes Commodity taxes Consumption tax Excise taxes Factor taxes Imperfect competition Lifetime income Lump-sum taxes Progressive and regressive taxation Property taxation Statutory and economic tax incidence Tax incidence Taxation of corporate profits 

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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gilbert E. Metcalf
    • 1
  1. 1.