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Timing of death and the repeal of the Swedish inheritance tax

Listed author(s):
  • Eliason, Marcus

    (Institute of Labour Market Policy Evaluation)

  • Ohlsson, Henry


    (Department of Economics)

Does taxation affect the timing of death? This is an interesting example of how behavior might be affected by economic incentives. We study how two changes in Swedish inheritance taxation 2003/04 and 2004/05 have affected mortality during the turns of the years. Our first main result is that deceased with estates taxable for legal heirs were 10 percentage points more likely to have died on New Year’s Day 2005, from when the inheritance tax was repealed, rather than on New Year’s Eve 2004, compared to deceased without taxable estates for legal heirs. The second main result is that deceased with estates taxable for a married spouse were 12 percentage points more likely to have died on New Year’s Day 2004, from when the inheritance tax between spouses was repealed, rather than on New Year’s Eve 2003, compared to deceased without taxable estates for a married spouse.

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Paper provided by Uppsala University, Department of Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number 2010:5.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: 26 Mar 2010
Publication status: Published as Eliason, Marcus and Henry Ohlsson, 'Timing of death and the repeal of the Swedish inheritance tax' in Journal of Socio-Economics, 2013, pages 113-123.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:uunewp:2010_005
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Department of Economics, Uppsala University, P. O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden

Phone: + 46 18 471 25 00
Fax: + 46 18 471 14 78
Web page:

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  1. Tamm, Marcus, 2013. "The Impact of a Large Parental Leave Benefit Reform on the Timing of Birth around the Day of Implementation," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 585-601.
  2. Gans Joshua S & Leigh Andrew, 2006. "Did the Death of Australian Inheritance Taxes Affect Deaths?," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 6(1), pages 1-9, November.
  3. Joshua Gans & Andrew Leigh, 2009. "The millennium bub," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(14), pages 1467-1470.
  4. Miccinesi, Guido & Fischer, Susanne & Paci, Eugenio & Onwuteaka-Philipsen, Bregje D & Cartwright, Colleen & van der Heide, Agnes & Nilstun, Tore & Norup, Michael & Mortier, Freddy, 2005. "Physicians' attitudes towards end-of-life decisions: a comparison between seven countries," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 60(9), pages 1961-1974, May.
  5. Gans, Joshua S. & Leigh, Andrew, 2009. "Born on the first of July: An (un)natural experiment in birth timing," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1-2), pages 246-263, February.
  6. Michael Neugart & Henry Ohlsson, 2013. "Economic incentives and the timing of births: evidence from the German parental benefit reform of 2007," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 26(1), pages 87-108, January.
  7. Eliason, Marcus & Ohlsson, Henry, 2008. "Living to save taxes," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 100(3), pages 340-343, September.
  8. Wojciech Kopczuk & Joel Slemrod, 2003. "Dying to Save Taxes: Evidence from Estate-Tax Returns on the Death Elasticity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(2), pages 256-265, May.
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