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The standard traditionally employed by tax theorists in assessing
thefederal income tax is equity, but a new generation oftheorists
argues that ostensible inequities are converted by the
market into inefficiencies. These opposing theories are based on
divergent behavioral assumptions: equity theorists usually assume
that the economic burden of the tax falls on the nominal
taxpayer, while efficiency theorists usually assume that the burden
is partly or wholly shifted by the nominal taxpayer to customers,
suppliers, or others. This article examines the
relationship of these conflicting assumptions to the conclusions
reached by equity and efficiency theorists.

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