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Wealth Distribution and Optimal Inheritance Taxation in Life-Cycle Economies with Intergenerational Transfers

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  • Heer, Burkhard

Abstract

Intergenerational transfers are introduced into a general equilibrium life-cycle model in order to explain observed levels of wealth heterogeneity. In our overlapping generations model, heterogenous agents face uncertain lifetime and leave both accidental and voluntary bequests to their children. Furthermore, agents face stochastic employment opportunities. The model is calibrated with regard to the characteristics of the US economy. Our results indicate that bequests only account for a small proportion of observed wealth heterogeneity. The introduction of an inheritance tax increases both welfare, as measured by the average lifetime utility of a newborn, and equality of the wealth distribution. Copyright 2001 by The editors of the Scandinavian Journal of Economics.

Suggested Citation

  • Heer, Burkhard, 2001. " Wealth Distribution and Optimal Inheritance Taxation in Life-Cycle Economies with Intergenerational Transfers," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 103(3), pages 445-465, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:scandj:v:103:y:2001:i:3:p:445-65
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Grandmont, Jean-Michel, 1978. "Intermediate Preferences and the Majority Rule," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(2), pages 317-330, March.
    2. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-927, October.
    3. Boskin, Michael J. & Kotlikoff, Lawrence J. & Puffert, Douglas J. & Shoven, John B., 1986. "Social Security: A Financial Appraisal Across and Within Generations," CEPR Publications 244432, Stanford University, Center for Economic Policy Research.
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    5. Loewy, Michael B., 1988. "Equilibrium policy in an overlapping generations economy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, pages 485-499.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mariacristina De Nardi, 2015. "Quantitative Models of Wealth Inequality: A Survey," NBER Working Papers 21106, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Aaron Cooke & Hyun Lee & Kai Zhao, 2017. "Houses Divided: A Model of Intergenerational Transfers, Differential Fertility and Wealth Inequality," Working papers 2017-22, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    3. Christoph Winter, 2014. "Accounting for the Changing Role of Family Income in Determining College Entry," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 116(4), pages 909-963, October.
    4. Dreger, Christian & Wolters, Jürgen, 2016. "On the Empirical Relevance of the Lucas Critique: the Case of Euro Area Money Demand," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 61-82.
    5. Cagetti, Marco & De Nardi, Mariacristina, 2008. "Wealth Inequality: Data And Models," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, pages 285-313.
    6. Barua, Sepul K. & Kuuluvainen, Jari & Uusivuori, Jussi, 2011. "Taxation, life-time uncertainty and non-industrial private forest-owner's decision-making," Journal of Forest Economics, Elsevier, pages 267-284.
    7. Grossmann, Volker & Strulik, Holger, 2010. "Should continued family firms face lower taxes than other estates?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 87-101.
    8. Edouard Challe & Xavier Ragot, 2010. "Aggregate Consumption in Times of Crisis: The Role of Financial Frictions -super-1," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 56(4), pages 627-648, December.
    9. Modibo Sidibe, 2012. "The Contribution of Housing to the Dynamics of Inequalities," Working Papers 2012-08, Center for Research in Economics and Statistics.
    10. Mariacristina De Nardi, 2004. "Wealth Inequality and Intergenerational Links," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(3), pages 743-768.
    11. Heer, Burkhard & Sussmuth, Bernd, 2007. "Effects of inflation on wealth distribution: Do stock market participation fees and capital income taxation matter?," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 277-303, January.
    12. Bossmann, Martin & Kleiber, Christian & Walde, Klaus, 2007. "Bequests, taxation and the distribution of wealth in a general equilibrium model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 1247-1271.
    13. Cagetti, Marco & De Nardi, Mariacristina, 2008. "Wealth Inequality: Data And Models," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, pages 285-313.
    14. repec:bpj:bejmac:v:18:y:2018:i:1:p:19:n:2 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Burkhard Heer, 2015. "Optimal Pensions in Aging Economies," CESifo Working Paper Series 5192, CESifo Group Munich.
    16. Mauro Baranzini, 2005. "Modigliani's life-cycle theory of savings fifty years later," Banca Nazionale del Lavoro Quarterly Review, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, vol. 58(233-234), pages 109-172.
    17. Mauro Baranzini, 2005. "Modigliani's life-cycle theory of savings fifty years later," BNL Quarterly Review, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, vol. 58(233-234), pages 109-172.
    18. Heer, Burkhard, 2002. "The German Unemployment Compensation System: Effects on Aggregate Savings and Wealth Distribution," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 48(3), pages 371-394, September.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • C68 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computable General Equilibrium Models
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth

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