The Pure Theory of Taxation

  • Francis Ysidro Edgeworth
Part of the International Economic Association Series book series (IEA)


The character of pure theory, deduction from received first principles, attaches not only to the incidence of taxes, which has been considered in the preceding paragraphs, but also—in a minor degree, doubtless—to the distribution of the fiscal burden among the taxpayers, which is to be considered in what follows. There is at least one aspect of this subject which may present sufficient length of reasoning and strength of premises to deserve the title “pure”. The view thus distinguished is that according to which the sacrifice felt by the taxpayer is a dominant factor in the apportionment of the fiscal burden, the hedonistic, or in a special sense utilitarian, principle of taxation, as it may be called. Some other principle may be held—for instance, that of “ability”, or “faculty”, in a more objective sense, but can hardly be to belong to the domain of pure theory.


Pure Theory Financial Relation Book Versus Progressive Taxation Subsistence Minimum 
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© International Economic Association 1958

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  • Francis Ysidro Edgeworth

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