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Optimal Taxation of Bequests in a Model with Initial Wealth

  • Johann K. Brunner
  • Susanne Pech

We formulate an optimum-taxation model, where parents leave bequests to their descendants for altruistic reasons. In contrast to the standard model, individuals differ not only in earning abilities, but also in initial (inherited) wealth. In this model a redistributive motive for an inheritance tax - which is equivalent to a uniform tax on all expenditures - arises, given that initial wealth increases with earning abilities. Its introduction increases intertemporal social welfare or has an ambiguous effect, depending on whether the bequeathing generation can adjust their behaviour and whether the external effect related to altruism is accounted for in the social objective.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1467-9442.2012.01725.x
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Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Scandinavian Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 114 (2012)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 1368-1392

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Handle: RePEc:bla:scandj:v:114:y:2012:i:4:p:1368-1392
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1467-9442

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  1. Johann K. Brunner & Paul Eckerstorfer & Susanne Pech, 2010. "Optimal Taxes on Wealth and Consumption in the Presence of Tax Evasion," Economics working papers 2010-04, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  2. Laitner, John & Ohlsson, Henry, 1998. "Bequest Motives: A Comparison of Sweden and the United States," Working Paper Series 1998:16, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  3. Emmanuel Farhi & Ivan Werning, 2006. "Progressive Estate Taxation," NBER Working Papers 12600, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Cremer, Helmuth & Pestieau, Pierre & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 2003. "Capital income taxation when inherited wealth is not observable," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(11), pages 2475-2490, October.
  5. Johann K. Brunner & Susanne Pech, 2008. "Optimum taxation of inheritances," Economics working papers 2008-06, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  6. W. G. Gale & J. K. Scholz, . "Intergenerational transfers and the accumulation of wealth," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1019-93, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  7. 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.
  8. Wilhelm, M.O., 1990. "Bequest Behavior And The Effect Of Heirs' Earnings: Testing The Altruistic Model Of Bequests," Papers 9-90-12, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  9. CREMER, Helmuth & PESTIEAU , Pierre & ROCHET, Jean-Charles, . "Direct versus indirect taxation: the design of the tax structure revisited," CORE Discussion Papers RP 1528, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  10. BOADWAY, Robin & MARCHAND, Maurice & PESTIEAU, Pierre, 1997. "Redistribution with unobservable bequests: a case for taxing capital income," CORE Discussion Papers 1997070, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  11. Kenneth L. Judd, 1982. "Redistributive Taxation in a Simple Perfect Foresight Model," Discussion Papers 572, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  12. Laitner, John & Juster, F Thomas, 1996. "New Evidence on Altruism: A Study of TIAA-CREF Retirees," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 893-908, September.
  13. Johann K. Brunner & Susanne Pech, 2011. "Optimal taxation of wealth transfers when bequests are motivated by joy of giving," Economics working papers 2011-12, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  14. Masson, A. & Pestieau, P., 1996. "Bequests motives and models of inheritance: a survey of the literature," DELTA Working Papers 96-20, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  15. Mikhail Golosov & Aleh Tsyvinski & Ivan Werning, 2007. "New Dynamic Public Finance: A User's Guide," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2006, Volume 21, pages 317-388 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Gary Solon, 2002. "Cross-Country Differences in Intergenerational Earnings Mobility," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(3), pages 59-66, Summer.
  17. Arrondel, L. & Laferrere, A., 1998. "Taxation and Wealth Transmission in France," DELTA Working Papers 98-13, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  18. Atkinson, A. B. & Stiglitz, J. E., 1976. "The design of tax structure: Direct versus indirect taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1-2), pages 55-75.
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  22. CREMER, Helmuth & PESTIEAU, Pierre, . "Wealth transfer taxation: a survey of the theoretical literature," CORE Discussion Papers RP 1874, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  23. Chamley, Christophe, 1986. "Optimal Taxation of Capital Income in General Equilibrium with Infinite Lives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 607-22, May.
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