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Optimal Taxation of Wealth Transfers When Bequests are Motivated by Joy of Giving

  • Brunner Johann K.

    ()

    (Johannes Kepler University of Linz)

  • Pech Susanne

    ()

    (Johannes Kepler University of Linz)

Inherited wealth creates a second distinguishing characteristic of individuals, in addition to earning abilities. We incorporate this fact into a model of optimal labor-income taxation, with bequests motivated by joy of giving. We find that taxes on bequests or on inheritances allow further redistribution if, in the parent generation, initial wealth and earning abilities are positively related. However, these taxes distort the bequest decision and thus, the overall effect on social welfare is ambiguous. On the other hand, a tax on all expenditures of a generation (a uniform tax on consumption plus bequests) has the same redistributive effect as an inheritance tax but does not distort the bequest decision.

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Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy.

Volume (Year): 12 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 1-22

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Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:12:y:2012:i:1:n:8
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  1. Johann K. Brunner & Susanne Pech, 2012. "Optimal Taxation of Bequests in a Model with Initial Wealth," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 114(4), pages 1368-1392, December.
  2. Johann K. Brunner & Susanne Pech & Paul Eckerstorfer, 2010. "Optimal Taxes on Wealth and Consumption in the Presence of Tax Evasion," NRN working papers 2010-03, The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  3. Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(114), pages 175-208, April.
  4. Johann K. Brunner & Susanne Pech, 2008. "Optimum Taxation of Inheritances," CESifo Working Paper Series 2319, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. 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.
  6. 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).
  7. Wojciech Kopczuk & Joseph P. Lupton, 2004. "To leave or not to leave: the distribution of bequest motives," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2004-33, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  8. Barro, Robert J., 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Scholarly Articles 3451399, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. Emmanuel Farhi & Ivan Werning, 2006. "Progressive Estate Taxation," NBER Working Papers 12600, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Wojciech Kopczuk, 2010. "Economics of estate taxation: a brief review of theory and evidence," NBER Working Papers 15741, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Boadway, Robin & Marchand, Maurice & Pestieau, Pierre, 2000. " Redistribution with Unobservable Bequests: A Case for Taxing Capital Income," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 102(2), pages 253-67, June.
  12. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521130615 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. 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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