Charitable Bequests and Taxes on Inheritance and Estates: Aggregate Evidence from Across States and Time
AbstractOne recurring issue in the debate over the estate tax is its impact on the non-profit sector. With the top marginal rate of federal estate tax currently at 49 percent, abolishing the tax would approximately double the price of a charitable bequest relative to an ordinary bequest for the wealthiest estates. It would also, however, raise the after-tax wealth of decedents, so the ultimate impact of any particular policy change depends in part on the relative sizes of the price and wealth elasticities. This paper estimates the impact of taxes on charitable bequests using an econometric framework that exploits the fact that federal and state tax rates on estates and inheritances have changed over time in different ways across states and real wealth levels. The effect of federal and state inheritance and estate taxes on charitable bequests is estimated using pooled cross-sectional data spanning several decades information from federal estate tax returns. Under several different specifications, we find evidence that the incentives for charitable giving present in state and federal estate and inheritance taxes have a strong positive effect on charitable bequests. Our estimates that rely on differences in the time path of state and federal tax rates across groups provide a more credible source of identification than the previous literature of a large and significant price elasticity of charitable bequests.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Department of Economics, Williams College in its series Department of Economics Working Papers with number 2003-18.
Length: 13 pages
Date of creation: May 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published: Bakija, Jon M., William G. Gale and Joel B. Slemrod. "Charitable Bequests And Taxes On Inheritances And Estates: Aggregate Evidence From Across States And Time," American Economic Review, 2003, v93(2,May), 366-370.
Other versions of this item:
- Jon M. Bakija & William G. Gale & Joel B. Slemrod, 2003. "Charitable Bequests and Taxes on Inheritances and Estates: Aggregate Evidence from across States and Time," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 366-370, May.
- Jon Bakija & William Gale & Joel Slemrod, 2003. "Charitable Bequests and Taxes on Inheritance and Estates: Aggregate Evidence from Across States and Time," NBER Working Papers 9661, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Randolph, William C, 1995. "Dynamic Income, Progressive Taxes, and the Timing of Charitable Contributions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(4), pages 709-38, August.
- Deaton, Angus S & Muellbauer, John, 1980. "An Almost Ideal Demand System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(3), pages 312-26, June.
- David Joulfaian, 2000. "Estate Taxes and Charitable Bequests by the Wealthy," NBER Working Papers 7663, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Joulfaian, David, 2000. "Estate Taxes and Charitable Bequests by the Wealthy," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 3), pages 743-64, September.
- World Bank, 2005. "Global Economic Prospects 2006 : Economic Implications of Remittances and Migration," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 7306, October.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Stephen Sheppard).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.