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Wealth inequality, intergenerational links and estate taxation

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  • Mariacristina De Nardi

Abstract

Empirical studies have shown that, for many countries, the distribution of wealth is much more concentrated than the one of labor earnings. We do not have yet a satisfactory model that can generate enough concentration in wealth from the one for earnings. I construct a computable general equilibrium model with overlapping generations in which parents and children are linked by bequests and earnings within families. I show that bequests are important to explain the emergence of large estates that characterize the top of the wealth distribution and that the introduction of a bequest motive generates lifetime saving profiles more consistent with the data. Moreover, allowing for earnings persistence within families generates an even more concentrated wealth distribution. A cross-country comparison between the U.S. and Sweden shows that intergenerational linkages are important also in economies where redistribution programs are more prominent and there is less inequality.

Suggested Citation

  • Mariacristina De Nardi, 1999. "Wealth inequality, intergenerational links and estate taxation," Working Paper Series WP-99-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhwp:wp-99-13
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    File URL: http://www.chicagofed.org/digital_assets/publications/working_papers/1999/wp99_13.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Attanasio, Orazio P, et al, 1999. "Humps and Bumps in Lifetime Consumption," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 17(1), pages 22-35, January.
    2. Aaron, Henry J. & Munnell, Alicia H., 1992. "Reassessing the Role for Wealth Transfer Taxes," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 45(2), pages 119-43, June.
    3. Alan J. Auerbach & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1998. "Macroeconomics, 2nd Edition: An Integrated Approach," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 2, volume 1, number 0262511037, January.
    4. Aaron, Henry J. & Munnell, Alicia H., 1992. "Reassessing the Role for Wealth Transfer Taxes," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 45(2), pages 119-143, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. John Ameriks & Andrew Caplin & Steven Laufer & Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh, 2007. "The Joy of Giving or Assisted Living? Using Strategic Surveys to Separate Bequest and Precautionary Motives," NBER Working Papers 13105, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. T. Kirk White, 2002. "Marginal Tax Rates and the Tax Reform of 1986: the Long-run Effect on the U.S. Wealth Distribution," Macroeconomics 0209002, EconWPA.
    3. David Domeij & Paul Klein, 2002. "Private Pensions: To What Extent Do They Account for Swedish Wealth Inequality?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(3), pages 503-534, July.
    4. John Ameriks & Andrew Caplin & Steven Laufer & Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh, 2011. "The Joy of Giving or Assisted Living? Using Strategic Surveys to Separate Public Care Aversion from Bequest Motives," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 66(2), pages 519-561, April.
    5. Santiago Budría & Javier Díaz-Giménez, "undated". "Economic Inequality in Spain: The European Union Household Panel Dataset," Working Papers 2004-24, FEDEA.
    6. Marco Cagetti & Mariacristina deNardi, 2000. "Entrepreneurship, Bequests, and the Distribution of Wealth," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1226, Econometric Society.
    7. José Victor Rios-Rull, 2002. "Desigualdad, ¿qué sabemos?," Investigaciones Economicas, Fundación SEPI, vol. 26(2), pages 221-254, May.

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    Keywords

    Wealth;

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