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Wealth transfer taxation: a survey of the theoretical literature

In: Handbook of the Economics of Giving, Altruism and Reciprocity

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  • Cremer, Helmuth
  • Pestieau, Pierre

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to survey the theoretical literature on wealth transfer taxation. The focus is normative: we are looking at the design of an optimal tax structure from the standpoint of both equity and efficiency. The gist of this survey is that the optimal design crucially depends on the assumed bequest motives. Alternative bequest motives are thus analyzed either in isolation or combined. Even though there are as many results as models and as many models as combinations of bequest motives, the general conclusion is that the case for a zero taxation of inheritance is very weak.

Suggested Citation

  • Cremer, Helmuth & Pestieau, Pierre, 2006. "Wealth transfer taxation: a survey of the theoretical literature," Handbook on the Economics of Giving, Reciprocity and Altruism, in: S. Kolm & Jean Mercier Ythier (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Giving, Altruism and Reciprocity, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 16, pages 1107-1134, Elsevier.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:givchp:2-16
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    Cited by:

    1. Brülhart, Marius & Parchet, Raphaël, 2014. "Alleged tax competition: The mysterious death of bequest taxes in Switzerland," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 63-78.
    2. Brunner Johann K. & Pech Susanne, 2012. "Optimal Taxation of Wealth Transfers When Bequests are Motivated by Joy of Giving," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 1-22, March.
    3. Frank A. Cowell, 2008. "Income Distribution and Inequality," Chapters, in: John B. Davis & Wilfred Dolfsma (ed.), The Elgar Companion to Social Economics, chapter 13, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Canta, Chiara & Cremer, Helmuth, 2019. "Long-term care policy with nonlinear strategic bequests," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 548-566.
    5. Abraham, Martin & Lorek, Kerstin & Richter, Friedemann & Wrede, Matthias, 2018. "Breaking the norms: When is evading inheritance taxes socially acceptable?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 85-102.
    6. Johann K. Brunner & Susanne Pech, 2008. "Optimum taxation of inheritances," Economics working papers 2008-06, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    7. Marius Brülhart & Raphaël Parchet, 2010. "Alleged Tax Competition: The Mysterious Death of InheritanceTaxes in Switzerland," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'économie 10.04, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, Département d’économie.
    8. Paola Profeta & Simona Scabrosetti & Stanley Winer, 2014. "Wealth transfer taxation: an empirical investigation," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 21(4), pages 720-767, August.
    9. Carlos Garriga & Fernando Sánchez-Losada, 2009. "Estate taxation with warm-glow altruism," Portuguese Economic Journal, Springer;Instituto Superior de Economia e Gestao, vol. 8(2), pages 99-118, August.
    10. 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.
    11. Monisankar Bishnu & Cagri S. Kumru & Arm Nakornthab, 2016. "Optimal Inheritance Tax under Temptation," Discussion Papers 16-06, Indian Statistical Institute, Delhi.
    12. Sarah Kuypers & Ive Marx, 2018. "Estimation of Joint Income-Wealth Poverty: A Sensitivity Analysis," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 136(1), pages 117-137, February.
    13. Stiglitz, Joseph E., 2018. "Pareto efficient taxation and expenditures: Pre- and re-distribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 101-119.
    14. Monisankar Bishnu & Cagri Kumru, 2020. "A Note on the Annuity Role of Estate Tax - ONLINE SUPPLEMENT," ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics 2020-676, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics.
    15. 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.
    16. Keuschnigg, Christian, 2011. "Intra- und intergenerative Gerechtigkeit in der Finanzpolitik," Economics Working Paper Series 1137, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
    17. Robin Boadway, 2010. "Efficiency and Redistribution: An Evaluative Review of Louis Kaplow's The Theory of Taxation and Public Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(4), pages 964-979, December.
    18. Chirvi, Malte & Schneider, Cornelius, 2019. "Stated preferences for capital taxation - tax design, misinformation and the role of partisanship," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 242, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.
    19. Chirvi, Malte & Schneider, Cornelius, 2020. "Preferences for wealth taxation: Design, framing and the role of partisanship," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 260, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.

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    JEL classification:

    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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