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Real Estate Prices and the Importance of Bequest Taxation

  • Giorgio Bellettini
  • Filippo Taddei

Taxation of bequests and donations is an important determinant of real estate prices. We show that, ceteris paribus, a decrease in taxes on inter vivos donations and bequests brings about an increase in real estate prices. We provide a general equilibrium rationalization in the context of OLG economies featuring intergenerational altruism. This has relevant policy implications. We test the predictions of our theory employing a unique policy shock: the abolition of bequest and donation taxation that took place in Italy in 2001. Considering this policy shift provides the first evidence that a drastic reduction in bequest and donation taxation significantly increased real estate prices. Our estimates suggest that the 2001 abolition of taxation on bequests and donations alone led to an appreciation of residential real estate in excess of 10%.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2577.

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Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2577
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  1. Glaeser, Edward L & Gyourko, Joseph & Saks, Raven, 2005. "Why Is Manhattan So Expensive? Regulation and the Rise in Housing Prices," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(2), pages 331-69, October.
  2. Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko & Raven Saks, 2005. "Why Have Housing Prices Gone Up?," NBER Working Papers 11129, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Bruce, Donald & Holtz-Eakin, Douglas, 1999. "Fundamental Tax Reform and Residential Housing," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 249-271, December.
  4. Nathalie Girouard & Mike Kennedy & Paul van den Noord & Christophe André, 2006. "Recent House Price Developments: The Role of Fundamentals," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 475, OECD Publishing.
  5. Emmanuel Farhi & Iván Werning, 2007. "Inequality and Social Discounting," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 365-402.
  6. Carolina Fugazza & Massimo Guidolin & Giovanna Nicodano, 2007. "Investing for the Long-run in European Real Estate," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 34(1), pages 35-80, January.
  7. Emmanuel Farhi & Iván Werning, 2010. "Progressive Estate Taxation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(2), pages 635-673, May.
  8. Loriana Pelizzon & Guglielmo Weber, 2006. "Are Household Portfolios Efficient? An Analysis Conditional on Housing," "Marco Fanno" Working Papers 0021, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno".
  9. Jonathan McCarthy & Richard W. Peach, 2004. "Are home prices the next "bubble"?," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Dec, pages 1-17.
  10. Charles Himmelberg & Christopher Mayer & Todd Sinai, 2005. "Assessing High House Prices: Bubbles, Fundamentals, and Misperceptions," NBER Working Papers 11643, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Karl E. Case & Robert J. Shiller, 2003. "Is There a Bubble in the Housing Market?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 34(2), pages 299-362.
  12. Patric H. Hendershott & Gwilym Pryce, 2005. "The Sensitivity of Homeowner Leverage to the Deductibility of Home Mortgage Interest," NBER Working Papers 11489, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Bernheim, B. Douglas & Lemke, Robert J. & Scholz, John Karl, 2004. "Do estate and gift taxes affect the timing of private transfers?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(12), pages 2617-2634, December.
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