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Incentive Effects of Inheritances and Optimal Estate Taxation

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  • Wojciech Kopczuk

Abstract

I consider optimal nonlinear taxation of income and bequests with a joy-of-giving bequest motive and explicitly characterize the optimal estate tax rate. The optimal formula trades off correction of externality from giving and discouraging effort of children due to income effect generated by bequests. The analysis shows that optimality of a positive tax on bequests rests on the strength of the effect of bequests on behavior of future generations. The analysis also suggests that inheritance, rather than estate tax, is better suited to implement the optimal policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Wojciech Kopczuk, 2013. "Incentive Effects of Inheritances and Optimal Estate Taxation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 472-477, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:103:y:2013:i:3:p:472-77
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.103.3.472
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Emmanuel Farhi & Iván Werning, 2010. "Progressive Estate Taxation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(2), pages 635-673.
    2. Wojciech Kopczuk, 2003. "The Trick Is to Live: Is the Estate Tax Social Security for the Rich?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(6), pages 1318-1341, December.
    3. Saez, Emmanuel, 2002. "The desirability of commodity taxation under non-linear income taxation and heterogeneous tastes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 217-230, February.
    4. Wojciech Kopczuk, 2012. "Taxation of Intergenerational Transfers and Wealth," NBER Working Papers 18584, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. De Nardi, Mariacristina & Yang, Fang, 2016. "Wealth inequality, family background, and estate taxation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 130-145.
    2. James R Hines Jr & Niklas Potrafke & Marina Riem & Christoph Schinke, 2015. "Inter vivos transfers of ownership in family firms," Working Papers 1523, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
    3. Erlend Eide Bø & Elin Halvorsen & Thor Olav Thoresen, 2015. "Heterogeneity of the Carnegie Effect," CESifo Working Paper Series 5339, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. repec:eee:poleco:v:52:y:2018:i:c:p:85-102 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Alessandra Casarico & Luca Micheletto & Alessandro Sommacal, 2015. "Intergenerational transmission of skills during childhood and optimal public policy," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 28(2), pages 353-372, April.
    6. Robin Boadway & Katherine Cuff, 2015. "Tax treatment of bequests when donor benefits are discounted," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 22(4), pages 604-634, August.
    7. Katrine Jakobsen & Kristian Jakobsen & Henrik Kleven & Gabriel Zucman, 2018. "Wealth Taxation and Wealth Accumulation: Theory and Evidence from Denmark," NBER Working Papers 24371, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Esteban García-Miralles, 2017. "The crucial role of social welfare criteria for optimal inheritance taxation," Working Papers 1706, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
    9. Abraham, Martin & Lorek, Kerstin & Richter, Friedemann & Wrede, Matthias, 2014. "Strictness of tax compliance norms: A factorial survey on the acceptance of inheritance tax evasion in Germany," FAU Discussion Papers in Economics 07/2014, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Institute for Economics.
    10. Johann Brunner & Susanne Pech, 2013. "Taxing bequests and consumption in the steady state," Economics working papers 2013-15, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    11. Monisankar Bishnu & Cagri S. Kumru & Arm Nakornthab, 2016. "Optimal Inheritance Tax under Temptation," ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics 2016-637, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics.
    12. Brunner Johann K., 2014. "Die Erbschaftsteuer – Bestandteil eines optimalen Steuersystems?," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, De Gruyter, vol. 15(3), pages 199-218, October.
    13. Raymond Fisman & Keith Gladstone & Ilyana Kuziemko & Suresh Naidu, 2017. "Do Americans Want to Tax Capital? Evidence from Online Surveys," NBER Working Papers 23907, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • K34 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Tax Law

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