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Accidental Bequests: A Curse for the Rich and a Boon for the Poor

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  • Helmuth Cremer
  • Firouz Gahvari
  • Pierre Pestieau

Abstract

When accidental bequests signal otherwise unobservable individual characteristics such as productivity and longevity, the tax administration should partition the population into two groups: One consisting of people who do not receive an inheritance and the other of those who do. The first tagged group gets a second-best tax à la Mirrlees; the second group a first-best tax schedule. The solution implies that receiving an inheritance makes high-ability types worse off and low-ability types better off. High-ability individuals will necessarily face a bequest tax of more than 100%, while low-ability types face a bequest tax that can be smaller as well as larger than 100%. With a Rawlsian social welfare function, the low-ability types too face a more than 100% tax on bequests.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1467-9442.2012.01728.x
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Scandinavian Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 114 (2012)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 1437-1459

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Handle: RePEc:bla:scandj:v:114:y:2012:i:4:p:1437-1459

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Web page: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1467-9442

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  1. Antoine Bommier, 2006. "Uncertain Lifetime And Intertemporal Choice: Risk Aversion As A Rationale For Time Discounting," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1223-1246, November.
  2. Atkinson, A. B. & Stiglitz, J. E., 1976. "The design of tax structure: Direct versus indirect taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1-2), pages 55-75.
  3. Cremer, Helmuth & Pestieau, Pierre & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 1999. "Capital Income Taxation when Inherited wealth is not Observable," IDEI Working Papers 109, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse, revised 2001.
  4. Pritchett, Lant & Summers, Lawrence H., 1993. "Wealthier is healthier," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1150, The World Bank.
  5. Robin BOADWAY & Pierre PESTIEAU, 2006. "Tagging and redistributive taxation," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 83-84, pages 123-147.
  6. Helmuth Cremer & Firouz Gahvari & Jean-Marie Lozachmeur, 2010. "Tagging and Income Taxation: Theory and an Application," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 31-50, February.
  7. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
  8. Wojciech Kopczuk, 2003. "The Trick Is to Live: Is the Estate Tax Social Security for the Rich?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(6), pages 1318-1341, December.
  9. MICHEL, Philippe & PESTIEAU, Pierre, 2002. "Wealth transfer taxation with both accidental and planned bequests," CORE Discussion Papers 2002059, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  10. Blumkin, Tomer & Sadka, Efraim, 2004. "Estate taxation with intended and accidental bequests," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1-2), pages 1-21, January.
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Cited by:
  1. Yu-Fu Chen & Michael Funke, 2010. "Global Warming and Extreme Events: Rethinking the Timing and Intensity of Environmental Policy," CESifo Working Paper Series 3139, CESifo Group Munich.

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