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The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy

Editor-in-Chief: Jürges, Hendrik / Ludwig, Sandra

Ed. by Auriol , Emmanuelle / Brunner, Johann / Fleck, Robert / Mendola, Mariapia / Requate, Till / Schirle, Tammy / de Vries, Frans / Zulehner, Christine

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1935-1682
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Volume 12, Issue 1 (Mar 2012)

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Optimal Taxation of Wealth Transfers When Bequests are Motivated by Joy of Giving

Johann K. Brunner / Susanne Pech
Published Online: 2012-03-16 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/1935-1682.3070

Abstract

Inherited wealth creates a second distinguishing characteristic of individuals, in addition to earning abilities. We incorporate this fact into a model of optimal labor-income taxation, with bequests motivated by joy of giving. We find that taxes on bequests or on inheritances allow further redistribution if, in the parent generation, initial wealth and earning abilities are positively related. However, these taxes distort the bequest decision and thus, the overall effect on social welfare is ambiguous. On the other hand, a tax on all expenditures of a generation (a uniform tax on consumption plus bequests) has the same redistributive effect as an inheritance tax but does not distort the bequest decision.

Keywords: optimal taxation; inheritance tax; expenditure tax; intergenerational wealth transfer

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Published Online: 2012-03-16


Citation Information: The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, ISSN (Online) 1935-1682, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/1935-1682.3070.

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©2012 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/Boston. Copyright Clearance Center

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