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Optimum taxation of bequests in a model with initial wealth

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  • Johann K. Brunner
  • Susanne Pech

Abstract

We formulate an optimum-taxation model, where parents leave bequests to their descendants for altruistic reasons. In contrast to the standard model, individuals differ not only in earning abilities, but also ininitial (inherited) wealth. In this model a redistributive motive for an inheritance tax - which is equivalent to a uniform tax on all expenditures - arises, given that initial wealth increases with earning abilities. Its introduction increases intertemporal social welfare or has an ambiguous effect, depending on whether the bequeathing generation can adjust their behaviour and whether the external effect related to altruism is accounted for in the social objective.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria in its series NRN working papers with number 2010-02.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:jku:nrnwps:2010_02

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  1. Johann K. Brunner & Susanne Pech, 2008. "Optimum Taxation of Inheritance," NRN working papers 2008-02, The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  2. Emmanuel Farhi & Iván Werning, 2010. "Progressive Estate Taxation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(2), pages 635-673, May.
  3. CREMER, Helmuth & PESTIEAU, Pierre & ROCHET, Jean-Charles, 2001. "Capital income taxation when inherited wealth is not observable," CORE Discussion Papers 2001020, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  4. Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(114), pages 175-208, April.
  5. Johann K. Brunner & Paul Eckerstorfer & Susanne Pech, 2010. "Optimal Taxes on Wealth and Consumption in the Presence of Tax Evasion," Economics working papers 2010-04, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  6. Laitner, John & Ohlsson, Henry, 2001. "Bequest motives: a comparison of Sweden and the United States," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 205-236, January.
  7. Seade, Jesus, 1982. "On the Sign of the Optimum Marginal Income Tax," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(4), pages 637-43, October.
  8. Wilhelm, M.O., 1990. "Bequest Behavior And The Effect Of Heirs' Earnings: Testing The Altruistic Model Of Bequests," Papers 9-90-12, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  9. W. G. Gale & J. K. Scholz, . "Intergenerational transfers and the accumulation of wealth," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1019-93, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
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  14. BOADWAY, Robin & MARCHAND, Maurice & PESTIEAU, Pierre, 1997. "Redistribution with unobservable bequests: a case for taxing capital income," CORE Discussion Papers 1997070, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  15. Kenneth L. Judd, 1982. "Redistributive Taxation in a Simple Perfect Foresight Model," Discussion Papers 572, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  16. Johann K. Brunner & Susanne Pech, 2011. "Optimal taxation of wealth transfers when bequests are motivated by joy of giving," Economics working papers 2011-12, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  17. Santiago Budria Rodriguez & Javier Diaz-Gimenez & Vincenzo Quadrini & Jose-Victor Rior-Rull, 2002. "Updated facts on the U.S. distributions of earnings, income, and wealth," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Sum, pages 2-35.
  18. Mikhail Golosov & Aleh Tsyvinski & Ivan Werning, 2007. "New Dynamic Public Finance: A User's Guide," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2006, Volume 21, pages 317-388 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Arrondel, L. & Laferrere, A., 1998. "Taxation and Wealth Transmission in France," DELTA Working Papers 98-13, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  20. John Laitner & F. Thomas Juster, 1993. "New evidence on altruism: a study of TIAA-CREF retirees," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 86, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  21. Webley,Paul & Robben,Henry & Elffers,Henk & Hessing,Dick With contributions by-Name:Cowell,Frank Wit (ed.), 2010. "Tax Evasion," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521130615, Fall.
  22. CREMER, Helmuth & PESTIEAU, Pierre, . "Wealth transfer taxation: a survey of the theoretical literature," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1874, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  23. Chamley, Christophe, 1986. "Optimal Taxation of Capital Income in General Equilibrium with Infinite Lives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 607-22, May.
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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. Johann K. Brunner, 2010. "Die Erbschaftssteuer im Modell der optimalen Besteuerung," Economics working papers 2010-14, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  3. Johann K. Brunner & Susanne Pech, 2011. "Optimal taxation of wealth transfers when bequests are motivated by joy of giving," Economics working papers 2011-12, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  4. Johann K. Brunner & Susanne Pech, 2013. "Taxing Bequests and Consumption in the Steady State," CESifo Working Paper Series 4453, CESifo Group Munich.

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