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Bequests, taxation and the distribution of wealth in a general equilibrium model

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  • Sexauer, Martin
  • Kleiber, Christian
  • Wälde, Klaus

Abstract

This paper examines the role of bequests and of taxation on bequests for the distribution of wealth. We investigate a model with overlapping generations and heterogenous households where parents derive utility directly from their bequests. Using the coefficient of variation as measure of equality, bequests per se diminish the inequality of wealth since they raise private savings and hence average wealth holdings more than the dispersion of wealth. From a policy perspective, taxing bequests and redistributing government revenue lump-sum among the young generation further decreases wealth inequality. These results also hold when measuring inequality by the Gini coefficient.

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  • Sexauer, Martin & Kleiber, Christian & Wälde, Klaus, 2005. "Bequests, taxation and the distribution of wealth in a general equilibrium model," W.E.P. - Würzburg Economic Papers 61, University of Würzburg, Chair for Monetary Policy and International Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:wuewep:61
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    3. Gary-Bobo, Robert J. & Nur, Jamil, 2015. "Housing, Capital Taxation and Bequests in a Simple OLG Model," CEPR Discussion Papers 10774, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Jing Wan & Shenghao Zhu, 2019. "Bequests, estate taxes, and wealth distributions," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 67(1), pages 179-210, February.
    5. Yoko Niimi & Charles Yuji Horioka, 2016. "The Impact of Intergenerational Transfers on Household Wealth Inequality in Japan and the United States," NBER Working Papers 22687, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Ivo Bischoff & Nataliya Kusa, 2015. "Policy preferences for inheritance taxation," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201531, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    7. Shenghao Zhu, 2019. "A Becker–Tomes model with investment risk," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 67(4), pages 951-981, June.
    8. Ivo Bischoff & Nataliya Kusa, 2017. "Citizens‘ preferences for a tax exemption for caregivers in inheritance taxation – an empirical analysis using German survey data," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201704, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    9. Johann K. Brunner & Susanne Pech, 2008. "Optimum taxation of inheritances," Economics working papers 2008-06, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    10. Grossmann, Volker & Strulik, Holger, 2010. "Should continued family firms face lower taxes than other estates?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(1-2), pages 87-101, February.
    11. Brunner Johann K., 2014. "Die Erbschaftsteuer – Bestandteil eines optimalen Steuersystems?," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, De Gruyter, vol. 15(3), pages 199-218, October.
    12. Holger Strulik & Volker Grossmann, 2008. "Should Continued Family Firms Face Lower Taxes than other Estates?," CESifo Working Paper Series 2235, CESifo.
    13. Chatzouz, Moustafa, 2014. "Government Debt and Wealth Inequality: Theory and Insights from Altruism," MPRA Paper 77007, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Noritaka Maebayashi & Kunihiko Konishi, 2016. "Sustainability of the public debt and wealth inequality in a general equilibrium model," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 16-33, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics.
    15. Ivo Bischoff & Nataliya Kusa, 2016. "Citizens‘ preferences for a tax exemption for caregiving heirs – an empirical analysis," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201621, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    16. Wan, Jing & Zhu, Shenghao, 2012. "Intergenerational links, taxation, and wealth distribution," MPRA Paper 39511, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. Camacho, Carmen & Harmankaya, Fatih & Sağlam, Çağrı, 2020. "Social status pursuit, distribution of bequests and inequality," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 183-191.
    18. Reichlin, Pietro, 2018. "Socially Optimal Wealth Inequality," CEPR Discussion Papers 12873, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    19. Fischer, Thomas, 2019. "Determinants of Wealth Inequality and Mobility in General Equilibrium," Working Papers 2019:22, Lund University, Department of Economics.
    20. Jordi Caballé, 2016. "Intergenerational mobility: measurement and the role of borrowing constraints and inherited tastes," SERIEs: Journal of the Spanish Economic Association, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 393-420, November.
    21. Christian Pietro & Marco M. Sorge, 2018. "Stochastic dominance and thick-tailed wealth distributions," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 123(2), pages 141-159, March.
    22. Pietro Reichlin, 2020. "Social welfare, parental altruism, and inequality," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 22(5), pages 1391-1419, September.
    23. Jordi Caballé & Ana I. Moro-Egido, 2015. "On the Accumulation of Wealth under Aspirations," Working Papers 826, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    bequest; taxation; wealth inequality; OLG model; analytical solution;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies

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