IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

The legacy of the Swedish gift and inheritance tax, 1884–2004

  • OHLSSON, HENRY

The objective of this article is to study how people change their behaviour when taxes change. I follow the revenue from gift, inheritance and estate taxes in Sweden over more than a century. Second, I focus on a unique episode during the second half of the 1940s when gifts and gift tax revenue exploded. I have access to aggregate tax revenue data since 1884. Moreover, I have constructed a rich micro-data set of all gifts reported during the period 1942–9 in one county. A first main result is that gifts, inheritances and estates were never important sources of tax revenue. Tax revenue as a share of GDP and total government revenue had already reached peaks in the 1930s. The role of these taxes has instead primarily been equity and to provide integrity for other tax bases. Second, expectations were important. Gift tax revenue during the 1940s started to increase long before a new estate tax and increased wealth taxation were decided and implemented. The increase began even before the legislative process started. Third, economic power and economic control were important. Parents gave to their children to avoid taxes, but only when the expected gain became large enough and in ways that left them with as much economic power as possible.

If 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.

File URL: http://journals.cambridge.org/abstract_S1361491611000049
File Function: link to article abstract page
Download Restriction: no

Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal European Review of Economic History.

Volume (Year): 15 (2011)
Issue (Month): 03 (December)
Pages: 539-569

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:cup:ereveh:v:15:y:2011:i:03:p:539-569_00
Contact details of provider: Postal: Cambridge University Press, UPH, Shaftesbury Road, Cambridge CB2 8BS UK
Web page: http://journals.cambridge.org/jid_ERE
Email:

References listed on IDEAS
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.:

as in new window
  1. Blomquist, Sören & Christiansen, Vidar, 2007. "Public Provision of Private Goods and Nondistortionary Marginal Tax Rates," Working Paper Series 2007:7, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  2. Alexius, Annika & Holmlund, Bertil, 2007. "Monetary Policy and Swedish Unemployment Fluctuations," IZA Discussion Papers 2933, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Joulfaian, David & McGarry, Kathleen, 2004. "Estate and Gift Tax Incentives and Inter Vivos Giving," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 57(2), pages 429-44, June.
  4. Edmark, Karin, 2007. "Strategic competition in Swedish local spending on childcare, schooling and care for the elderly," Working Paper Series 2007:22, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  5. Ågren, Martin, 2006. "Prospect Theory and Higher Moments," Working Paper Series 2006:24, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  6. Österholm, Pär, 2006. "Incorporating Judgement in Fan Charts," Working Paper Series 2006:30, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  7. Carlsson, Mikael & Westermark, Andreas, 2007. "Optimal Monetary Policy under Downward Nominal Wage Rigidity," Working Paper Series 2007:15, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  8. Douhan, Robin & Nordberg, Anders, 2008. "Is the Elephant Stepping on its Trunk? The Problem of India's Unbalanced Growth," Working Paper Series 778, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  9. Jordahl, Henrik & Liang, Che-Yuan, 2006. "Merged Municipalities, Higher Debt: On Free-riding and the Common Pool Problem in Politics," Ratio Working Papers 107, The Ratio Institute.
  10. Björnerstedt, Jonas & Westermark, Andreas, 2006. "Delay in Bargaining with Externalities," Working Paper Series 2006:29, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  11. Ouarda Merrouche, 2007. "The Long Term Effect of Education Spending Decentralization on Human Capital in Spain," Working Papers 200708, Geary Institute, University College Dublin.
  12. Aronsson, Thomas & Blomquist, Sören & Micheletto, Luca, 2007. "Where Should the Elderly Live and Who Should Pay for their Care? A Study in Demographics and Geographical Economics," Working Paper Series 2007:6, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  13. Engström, Per & Kolm, Ann-Sofie & Liang, Che-Yuan, 2006. "Maternal Addiction to Parental Leave," Working Paper Series 2006:28, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  14. Andersson, Christian, 2007. "Teacher density and student achievement in Swedish compulsory schools," Working Paper Series 2007:5, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  15. Bengtsson, Niklas, 2010. "How responsive is body weight to transitory income changes? Evidence from rural Tanzania," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 53-61, May.
  16. Ohlsson, Henry, 2007. "The equal division puzzle – empirical evidence on intergenerational transfers in Sweden," Working Paper Series 2007:10, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  17. Ohlsson, Henry, 2007. "Tax avoidance - a natural experiment," Working Paper Series 2007:13, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  18. Meredith Beechey & Par Osterholm, 2007. "The rise and fall of U.S. inflation persistence," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2007-26, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  19. Carlsson, Mikael & Westermark, Andreas, 2006. "Monetary Policy and Staggered Wage Bargaining when Prices are Sticky," Working Paper Series 199, Sveriges Riksbank (Central Bank of Sweden).
  20. Lindgren, H kan, 2002. "The Modernization Of Swedish Credit Markets, 1840 1905: Evidence From Probate Records," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 62(03), pages 810-832, September.
  21. Fregert, Klas & Gustafsson, Roger, 2005. "Fiscal statistics for Sweden 1719-2003," Working Papers 2005:40, Lund University, Department of Economics.
  22. Engström, Per, 2007. "Wage Formation and Redistribution," Working Paper Series 2007:12, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  23. Hallberg, Daniel & Lagergren, Mårten, 2007. "Moving in and out of public geriatric care in Sweden," Working Paper Series 2007:11, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  24. McGarry, Kathleen, 2001. "The cost of equality: unequal bequests and tax avoidance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 179-204, January.
  25. Post, Erik, 2007. "Macroeconomic imbalances and exchange rate regime shifts," Working Paper Series 2007:4, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  26. Poterba, James, 2001. "Estate and gift taxes and incentives for inter vivos giving in the US," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 237-264, January.
  27. Merrouche, Ouarda, 2007. "The Long Term Impact of French Settlement on Education in Algeria," Working Paper Series 2007:2, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  28. Kjellberg, David & Post, Erik, 2007. "A Critical Look at Measures of Macroeconomic Uncertainty," Working Paper Series 2007:14, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  29. Joulfaian, David, 2004. "Gift taxes and lifetime transfers: time series evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1917-1929, August.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cup:ereveh:v:15:y:2011:i:03:p:539-569_00. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Keith Waters)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.