The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Bradford, David (1939–2005)

  • Daniel N. Shaviro
Reference work entry


David Bradford is best known for his work on fundamental tax reform, although his contributions to public economics were more wide-ranging. His early writings, after he joined the economics department at Princeton University in 1966, largely focused on municipal finance and public goods pricing. His interests took a dramatic turn, however, when he was named Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy at the US Treasury in 1975, and given lead responsibility for a Treasury study of comprehensive tax reform. The influential Blueprints for Basic Tax Reform (1977), which he co-authored with the US Treasury Tax Policy Staff, set forth models for comprehensive income and consumption taxes that remain influential to this day. The Blueprints cash flow consumption tax in particular influenced subsequent tax reform thinking by showing how a consumption tax, levied at the individual rather than the business level, could match the progressivity of an income tax and offer self-help income averaging through a mix of ‘prepaid’ and ‘postpaid’ (that is, yield-exempt and deductible) savings accounts.


Bradford, D. Consumption taxation Flat tax Intertemporal preferences Local public finance Progressive and regressive taxation Public goods pricing Taxation of corporate profits Taxation of income 

JEL Classifications

B31 H21 H22 H24 H25 H73 
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  1. Hall, R., and A. Rabushka. 1995. The flat tax. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel N. Shaviro
    • 1
  1. 1.