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Intergenerational altruism and house prices: evidence from bequest tax reforms in Italy

Listed author(s):
  • G. Bellettini
  • F. Taddei
  • G. Zanella

We identify the degree of intergenerational altruism in an OLG framework à la Barro exploiting the quasi-experimental variation generated by reforms of bequest taxation (estate or inheritance tax, in the U.S.) and taxes on inter vivos real estate donations (gift tax, in the U.S.) that were enacted in Italy between 2000 and 2001. Employing a unique data set containing information on the housing stock and house prices in 13 large Italian cities between 1993 and 2004, we identify the structural parameter of interest via the effect of changes in the tax rate on house prices. We find that the intergenerational altruism parameter is about 20%. Given the possible anticipation of the reform this estimate should be interpreted as a lower bound.

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Paper provided by Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna in its series Working Papers with number wp947.

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Date of creation: May 2014
Handle: RePEc:bol:bodewp:wp947
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  1. Emmanuel Farhi & Iván Werning, 2010. "Progressive Estate Taxation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(2), pages 635-673.
  2. Tullio Jappelli & Mario Padula & Giovanni Pica, 2014. "Do Transfer Taxes Reduce Intergenerational Transfers?," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 248-275, February.
  3. Han, Song & Mulligan, Casey B, 2001. "Human Capital, Heterogeneity and Estimated Degrees of Intergenerational Mobility," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(470), pages 207-243, April.
  4. 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.
  5. Joulfaian, David, 2006. "The Behavioral Response of Wealth Accumulation to Estate Taxation: Time Series Evidence," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 59(2), pages 253-268, June.
  6. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
  7. Emmanuel Farhi & Iván Werning, 2007. "Inequality and Social Discounting," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 365-402.
  8. Daniel Barczyk, 2013. "Deficits, Gifts, and Bequests," 2013 Meeting Papers 25, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  9. Barczyk, Daniel, 2016. "Ricardian equivalence revisited: Deficits, gifts and bequests," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 1-24.
  10. Shinichi Nishiyama, 2002. "Bequests, Inter Vivos Transfers, and Wealth Distribution," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(4), pages 892-931, October.
  11. Wojciech Kopczuk, 2010. "Economics of estate taxation: a brief review of theory and evidence," NBER Working Papers 15741, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Joel Slemrod & Wojciech Kopczuk, 2000. "The Impact of the Estate Tax on the Wealth Accumulation and Avoidance Behavior of Donors," NBER Working Papers 7960, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Bellettini Giorgio & Zanella Giulio & Taddei Filippo, 2013. "Bequest taxes, donations, and house prices," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 13(1), pages 1-25, October.
  14. Harding, John P. & Rosenthal, Stuart S. & Sirmans, C.F., 2007. "Depreciation of housing capital, maintenance, and house price inflation: Estimates from a repeat sales model," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 193-217, March.
  15. Douglas Holtz-Eakin & Donald Marples, 2001. "Distortion Costs of Taxing Wealth Accumulation: Income Versus Estate Taxes," NBER Working Papers 8261, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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