excess burden of taxation

James R. Hines Jr.
From The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, Second Edition, 2008
Edited by Steven N. Durlauf and Lawrence E. Blume
Back to top


The excess burden of taxation is the efficiency cost, or deadweight loss, associated with taxation. Excess burden is commonly measured by the area of the associated Harberger triangle, though accurate measurement requires the use of compensated demand and supply schedules. The generation of empirical excess burden studies that followed Arnold Harberger's pioneering work in the 1960s measured the costs of tax distortions to labour supply, saving, capital allocation, and other economic decisions. More recent work estimates excess burdens based on the effects of taxation on more comprehensive measures of taxable income, reporting sizable excess burdens of existing taxes.
Back to top


Back to top


Back to top

How to cite this article

Hines, James R., Jr. "excess burden of taxation." The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics. Second Edition. Eds. Steven N. Durlauf and Lawrence E. Blume. Palgrave Macmillan, 2008. The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics Online. Palgrave Macmillan. 17 December 2017 <http://www.dictionaryofeconomics.com/article?id=pde2008_E000315> doi:10.1057/9780230226203.0513

Download Citation:

as RIS | as text | as CSV | as BibTex