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Dying to Save Taxes: Evidence from Estate-Tax Returns on the Death Elasticity

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  • Wojciech Kopczuk

    (University of British Columbia)

  • Joel Slemrod

    (University of Michigan)

Abstract

This paper examines data from U.S. federal tax returns to shed light on whether the timing of death is responsive to its tax consequences. We investigate the temporal pattern of deaths around the time of changes in the estate-tax system periods when living longer, or dying sooner, could significantly affect estate-tax liability. We find some evidence that there is a small death elasticity, although we cannot rule out that what we have uncovered is ex post doctoring of the reported date of death. © 2003 President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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File URL: http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/003465303765299783
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Review of Economics and Statistics.

Volume (Year): 85 (2003)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 256-265

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:85:y:2003:i:2:p:256-265

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References

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  1. Stacy Dickert-Conlin & Amitabh Chandra, 1999. "Taxes and the Timing of Birth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(1), pages 161-177, February.
  2. Sjoquist, David L. & Walker, Mary Beth, 1995. "The Marriage Tax and the Rate and Timing of Marriage," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 48(4), pages 547-58, December .
  3. Austan Goolsbee, 1997. "What Happens When You Tax the Rich? Evidence from Executive Compensation," NBER Working Papers 6333, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Joel Slemrod & Wojciech Kopczuk, 2000. "The Impact of the Estate Tax on the Wealth Accumulation and Avoidance Behavior of Donors," NBER Working Papers 7960, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Gelardi, Alexander M.G., 1996. "The Influence of Tax Law Changes on the Timing of Marriages: A Two-Country Analysis," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 49(1), pages 17-30, March Cit.
  6. Alm, James & Whittington, Leslie A., 1995. "Does the Income Tax Affect Marital Decisions?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 48(4), pages 565-72, December .
  7. Myron S. Scholes & G. Peter Wilson & Mark A. Wolfson, 1992. "Firms' Responses to Anticipated Reductions in Tax Rates: The Tax Reform Act of 1986," NBER Working Papers 4171, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Beatrice Brunner & Andreas Kuhn, 2011. "Financial incentives, the timing of births, birth complications, and newborns' health: Evidence from the abolition of Austria's baby bonus," ECON - Working Papers 048, Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
  2. Eliason, M. & Ohlsson, H., 2013. "Timing of death and the repeal of the Swedish inheritance tax," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 113-123.
  3. José Mª Durán Cabré & Alejandro Esteller Moré, 2007. "An empirical analysis of wealth taxation: Equity Vs.tax compliance," Working Papers XREAP2007-03, Xarxa de Referència en Economia Aplicada (XREAP), revised Jun 2007.
  4. Bernheim, B. Douglas & Lemke, Robert J. & Scholz, John Karl, 2004. "Do estate and gift taxes affect the timing of private transfers?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(12), pages 2617-2634, December.
  5. Sara LaLumia & James M. Sallee & Nicholas Turner, 2013. "New Evidence on Taxes and the Timing of Birth," NBER Working Papers 19283, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Eliason, Marcus & Ohlsson, Henry, 2007. "Living to Save Taxes," Working Paper Series 2007:8, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  7. William G. Gale & Joel B. Slemrod, 2001. "Rethinking the Estate and Gift Tax: Overview," NBER Working Papers 8205, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Beatrice Brunner & Andreas Kuhn, 2011. "Financial Incentives, the Timing of Births, Birth Complications, and Newborns’ Health: Evidence from the Abolition of Austria’s Baby Bonus," NRN working papers 2011-16, The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  9. Joshua S. Gans & Andrew Leigh, 2006. "Born on the First of July: An (Un)natural Experiment in Birth Timing," CEPR Discussion Papers 529, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  10. Mauro Baranzini, 2005. "Modigliani's life-cycle theory of savings fifty years later," Banca Nazionale del Lavoro Quarterly Review, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, vol. 58(233-234), pages 109-172.
  11. Kei Sakata & Colin. R. McKenzie, 2010. "Does Taxation Affect Marriage and Family Planning Decisions?," Keio/Kyoto Joint Global COE Discussion Paper Series 2010-003, Keio/Kyoto Joint Global COE Program.
  12. Brunner, Beatrice & Kuhn, Andreas, 2011. "Financial Incentives, the Timing of Births, Birth Complications, and Newborns' Health: Evidence from the Abolition of Austria's Baby Bonus," IZA Discussion Papers 6141, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Henry Ohlsson, Michael Neugart and, 2009. "Economic incentives and the timing of births: Evidence from the German parental benefit reform 2007," Working Paper Series, Center for Fiscal Studies 2009:10, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  14. Mauro Baranzini, 2005. "Modigliani's life-cycle theory of savings fifty years later," BNL Quarterly Review, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, vol. 58(233-234), pages 109-172.
  15. Jonathan Skinner & Stephen P. Zeldes, 2002. "The Importance of Bequests and Life-Cycle Saving in Capital Accumulation: A New Answer," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 274-278, May.
  16. Schulkind, Lisa & Shapiro, Teny Maghakian, 2014. "What a difference a day makes: Quantifying the effects of birth timing manipulation on infant health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 139-158.

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