The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Musgrave, Richard Abel (1910–2007)

  • Peter Mieszkowski
Reference work entry


Richard Musgrave is best known for his treatise The Theory of Public Finance (1959). His most original and lasting contributions are in taxation theory and public goods theory. His work on tax incidence has been the starting point for all subsequent studies on tax burdens by income classes, and he broke new ground by introducing the concept of equal options as the basis for horizontal equity. His separation of budgetary functions into allocation and distribution branches has acquired increased practical significance as much of the expansion of the public sector has consisted of increased transfer payments.


Allocative versus distributive budgetary functions Charitable giving Choice under uncertainty Direct and indirect taxation Excise taxes Fiscal stabilization Horizontal equity Indirect taxation Merit goods Musgrave, R. A. Nozick, R. Primary and secondary redistribution Public finance Public goods Rawls, J. Revealed preference Risk taking Social justice Social rights Tax incidence Taxation of capital income Taxation of corporate profits 

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Mieszkowski
    • 1
  1. 1.