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Should continued family firms face lower taxes than other estates?

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  • Grossmann, Volker
  • Strulik, Holger

Abstract

Taxes on estates and inheritances may induce heirs to discontinue family firms. Because firm dissolution incurs transaction costs, a preferential tax treatment of transferred family businesses seems to be desirable from a macroeconomic viewpoint. The support of dynastic succession, however, entails also a cost on the economy if firm continuation by less able heirs prevents entry into entrepreneurship. Here, we investigate analytically and quantitatively the trade-off between transaction costs saved and creative destruction prevented. We find that a unique general equilibrium exists at which, depending on the institutional setup, low-ability heirs either abandon (Type 1) or continue (Type 2) a family business. A calibration of the model with German data suggests that preferential tax treatment of family firms has severe negative consequences on macroeconomic performance if it causes a threshold crossing from Type 1 to Type 2 equilibrium. It also reveals that the descendants of less able entrepreneurs who were caused by continuation-friendly tax policy to keep a family business always lose relative to their status in an economy without such a policy.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 94 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1-2 (February)
Pages: 87-101

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:94:y:2010:i:1-2:p:87-101

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

Related research

Keywords: Bequest taxation Creative destruction Entrepreneurship Family firms Preferential tax treatment;

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References

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  1. Grossmann, Volker & Strulik, Holger, 2008. "Should Continued Family Firms Face Lower Taxes Than Other Estates?," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-387, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Johann K. Brunner, 2012. "The Bequest Tax as Long-Term Care Insurance," CESifo Working Paper Series 3901, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Houben, Henriette & Maiterth, Ralf, 2009. "Inheritance tax-exempt transfer of German businesses: Imperative or unjustified subsidy? An empirical analysis," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 95, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.
  3. Grossmann, Volker & Strulik, Holger, 2010. "Should continued family firms face lower taxes than other estates?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1-2), pages 87-101, February.
  4. Houben, Henriette & Maiterth, Ralf, 2009. "Zurück zum Zehnten: Modelle für die nächste Erbschaftsteuerreform," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 69, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.
  5. Lindner, Ines & Strulik, Holger, 2011. "From Tradition to Modernity: Economic Growth in a Small World," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-478, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.

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