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Alleged Tax Competition: The Mysterious Death of InheritanceTaxes in Switzerland

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  • Marius Brülhart
  • Raphaël Parchet

Abstract

Interjurisdictional competition over mobile tax bases is an easily understood mechanism, but actual tax-base elasticities are difficult to estimate. Political pressure for reducing tax rates could therefore be based on erroneous estimates of the mobility of tax bases. We show that tax competition provided the overwhelmingly dominant argument in the policy debates leading to a succession of reforms of bequest taxation by Swiss cantons. Yet, we find only very weak statistical evidence of a relationship between tax burdens on bequests and the concerned tax base of wealthy elderly individuals. Moreover, inheritance tax revenues are found to increase in inheritance tax rates even in the long run, and actual tax rates lie well below the revenue-maximising levels throughout. The alleged pressures of tax competition did not seem in reality to exist.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP in its series Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) with number 10.04.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:lau:crdeep:10.04

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Postal: Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP, Internef, CH-1015 Lausanne
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Fax: ++41 21 692.33.05
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Web page: http://www.hec.unil.ch/deep/publications/cahiers/series
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Keywords: tax competition; inheritance taxation; fiscal federalism;

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References

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  1. Karen Smith Conway & Jonathan C. Rork, 2004. "Diagnosis Murder: The Death of State Death Taxes," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 42(4), pages 537-559, October.
  2. Giovanni S.F. Bruno, 2004. "Approximating the Bias of the LSDV Estimator for Dynamic Unbalanced Panel Data Models," KITeS Working Papers 159, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Jul 2004.
  3. Graziella Bertocchi, 2007. "The vanishing bequest tax. The Comparative Evolution of Bequest Taxation in Historical Perspective," Center for Economic Research (RECent) 005, University of Modena and Reggio E., Dept. of Economics.
  4. Wojciech Kopczuk, 2010. "Economics of estate taxation: a brief review of theory and evidence," NBER Working Papers 15741, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Cremer, Helmuth & Pestieau, Pierre, 2006. "Wealth transfer taxation: a survey of the theoretical literature," Handbook on the Economics of Giving, Reciprocity and Altruism, Elsevier.
  6. Jon Bakija & Joel Slemrod, 2004. "Do the Rich Flee from High State Taxes? Evidence from Federal Estate Tax Returns," NBER Working Papers 10645, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Craig Brett & Joris Pinkse, 2000. "The determinants of municipal tax rates in British Columbia," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 33(3), pages 695-714, August.
  8. Buettner, Thiess, 2003. "Tax base effects and fiscal externalities of local capital taxation: evidence from a panel of German jurisdictions," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(1), pages 110-128, July.
  9. Bucovetsky, S., 1991. "Asymmetric tax competition," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 167-181, September.
  10. Haufler,Andreas, 2001. "Taxation in a Global Economy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521782760, April.
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  12. Singh, S K & Maddala, G S, 1976. "A Function for Size Distribution of Incomes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(5), pages 963-70, September.
  13. Nickell, Stephen J, 1981. "Biases in Dynamic Models with Fixed Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1417-26, November.
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As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. La riqueza debería tributar más
    by Santiago Lago Peñas in Res Publica on 2012-08-21 16:08:03
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Cited by:
  1. Janeba, Eckhard & Osterloh, Steffen, 2013. "Tax and the city: A theory of local tax competition and evidence for Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 12-005 [rev.], ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  2. Geys, Benny & Osterloh, Steffen, 2011. "Politicians' opinions on rivals in the competition for firms: An empirical analysis of reference points near a border," ZEW Discussion Papers 11-020, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  3. Geys, Benny & Osterloh, Steffen, 2012. "Borders as boundaries to fiscal policy interactions? An empirical analysis of politicians' opinions on rivals in the competition for firms," Discussion Papers, Research Professorship & Project "The Future of Fiscal Federalism" SP II 2012-113, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).

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