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Tax Incentives and the Demand for Life Insurance: Evidence from Italy

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Abstract

The theoretical literature suggests that taxation can have a large impact on household portfolio selection and allocation. In this paper we consider the tax treatment of life insurance, considering the cancellation of tax incentives in Italian life insurance contracts for investors with high marginal tax rates and the introduction of incentives for those with low rates. Using repeated cross-sectional data from 1989 to 1998, we find that the tax reforms had no effect on the decision to invest in life insurance or the amount invested. The likely explanations are the lack of information and lack of committment to long-term investment.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy in its series CSEF Working Papers with number 52.

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Date of creation: 01 Feb 2001
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Publication status: Published in Journal of Public Economics, August 2003, vol. 87, issue 7-8, pages 1779-1799
Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:52

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Keywords: Tax incentives; Saving; Portfolio choice;

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  1. Feldstein, Martin S, 1976. "Personal Taxation and Portfolio Composition: An Econometric Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(4), pages 631-50, July.
  2. Tullio Jappelli & Marco Pagano, 1994. "Government Incentives and Household Saving in Italy," NBER Chapters, in: Public Policies and Household Savings, pages 105-132 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. James M. Poterba, 2001. "Taxation and Portfolio Structure: Issues and Implications," NBER Working Papers 8223, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. King, Mervyn A. & Leape, Jonathan I., 1998. "Wealth and portfolio composition: Theory and evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 155-193, June.
  5. James M. Poterba & Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1996. "How Retirement Saving Programs Increase Saving," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 91-112, Fall.
  6. Eric M. Engen & William G. Gale & John Karl Scholz, 1996. "The Illusory Effects of Saving Incentives on Saving," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 113-138, Fall.
  7. Guiso, Luigi & Jappelli, Tullio, 2000. "Household Portfolios in Italy," CEPR Discussion Papers 2549, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Hochguertel, Stefan & Alessie, Rob & van Soest, Arthur, 1997. " Saving Accounts versus Stocks and Bonds in Household Portfolio Allocation," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 99(1), pages 81-97, March.
  9. James Banks & Tanner, S, 2000. "Household portfolios in the UK," IFS Working Papers W00/14, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
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Cited by:
  1. Tullio Jappelli & Luigi Pistaferri, 2002. "Tax Incentives for Household Saving and Borrowing," CSEF Working Papers 83, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  2. Guiso, Luigi & Jappelli, Tullio, 2000. "Household Portfolios in Italy," CEPR Discussion Papers 2549, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Luigi Guiso & Tullio Jappelli & Mario Padula, 2009. "Pension Risk, Retirement Saving and Insurance," EIEF Working Papers Series 0902, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Apr 2009.
  4. Mathias Sommer, 2007. "Savings motives and the effectiveness of tax incentives – an analysis based on the demand for life insurance in Germany," MEA discussion paper series 07125, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  5. Nuno C. Martins & Ernesto Villanueva, 2003. "The Impact of Interest-rate Subsidies on Long-term Household Debt: Evidence from a Large Program," Working Papers w200314, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
  6. Nicolas Sauter & Jan Walliser & Joachim Winter, 2010. "Tax Incentives, Bequest Motives, and the Demand for Life Insurance: Evidence from two Natural Experiments in Germany," CESifo Working Paper Series 3040, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Sauter, Nicolas & Winter, Joachim, 2010. "Do investors respond to tax reform? Evidence from a natural experiment in Germany," Munich Reprints in Economics 19739, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  8. Jappelli, Tullio & Pistaferri, Luigi, 2007. "Do people respond to tax incentives? An analysis of the Italian reform of the deductibility of home mortgage interests," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 247-271, February.
  9. Renata Bottazzi & Tullio Jappelli & Mario Padula, 2009. "The Portfolio Effect of Pension Reforms," CSEF Working Papers 234, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  10. Juan Ayuso & Juan F. Jimeno & Ernesto Villanueva, 2007. "The effects of the introduction of tax incentives on retirement savings," Banco de Espa�a Working Papers 0724, Banco de Espa�a.
  11. Jappelli, Tullio & Pistaferri, Luigi, 2003. "Tax Incentives to Saving and Borrowing," CEPR Discussion Papers 3881, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. J. François Outreville, 2011. "The relationship between insurance growth and economic development - 80 empirical papers for a review of the literature," ICER Working Papers 12-2011, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
  13. Silvia Jordan & Corinna Treisch, 2010. "The perception of tax concessions in retirement savings decisions," Qualitative Research in Financial Markets, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 2(3), pages 157 - 184, October.

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