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Incentive Effects of Inheritances and Optimal Estate Taxation

  • Wojciech Kopczuk

I consider nonlinear taxation of income and bequests with a joy-of-giving bequest motive and explicitly characterize the estate tax rate structure that maximizes social planner's welfare function. The solution trades off correction of externality from giving and discouraging effort of children due to income effect generated by bequests. The analysis shows that optimality of a positive tax on bequests in this context rests on the strength of the effect of bequests on behavior of future generations, and suggests that inheritance rather than estate tax is better suited to implement the corresponding policy.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18747.

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Date of creation: Feb 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Wojciech Kopczuk, 2013. "Incentive Effects of Inheritances and Optimal Estate Taxation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 472-77, May.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18747
Note: EFG PE
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  1. Emmanuel Saez, 2000. "The Desirability of Commodity Taxation under Non-Linear Income Taxation and Heterogeneous Tastes," NBER Working Papers 8029, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Wojciech Kopczuk, 2003. "The Trick Is to Live: Is the Estate Tax Social Security for the Rich?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(6), pages 1318-1341, December.
  3. Wojciech Kopczuk, 2012. "Taxation of Intergenerational Transfers and Wealth," NBER Working Papers 18584, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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