Accidental Bequests: A Curse for the Rich and a Boon for the Poor

23 Pages Posted: 27 Nov 2012

See all articles by Helmuth Cremer

Helmuth Cremer

University of Toulouse (GREMAQ & IDEI); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Firouz Gahvari

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Pierre Pestieau

University of Liège - Research Center on Public and Population Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE)

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Date Written: December 2012

Abstract

When accidental bequests signal otherwise unobservable individual characteristics, such as productivity and longevity, the population should be partitioned into two groups: those who do not receive an inheritance and those who do. The first tagged group receives a Mirrlees second‐best tax schedule; the second group, when its type is fully revealed, faces a first‐best tax schedule. Receiving an inheritance makes high‐ability types worse off and low‐ability types better off. High‐ability individuals face a bequest tax of more than 100 percent, while low‐ability types face a bequest tax that can be smaller, as well as larger, than 100 percent, and it might even be negative.

Keywords: Accidental bequests, estate tax, first‐best, second‐best, tagging

JEL Classification: H21

Suggested Citation

Cremer, Helmuth and Gahvari, Firouz and Pestieau, Pierre, Accidental Bequests: A Curse for the Rich and a Boon for the Poor (December 2012). The Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Vol. 114, Issue 4, pp. 1437-1459, 2012, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2181272 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9442.2012.01728.x

Helmuth Cremer (Contact Author)

University of Toulouse (GREMAQ & IDEI) ( email )

Toulouse, 31000
France
+33 1 6112 8606 (Phone)
+33 1 6112 8637 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Firouz Gahvari

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Economics ( email )

313 David Kinley Hall, 1407 West Gregory Drive
Urbana, IL 61801
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.economics.illinois.edu/people/fgahvari

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschingerstr. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Pierre Pestieau

University of Liège - Research Center on Public and Population Economics ( email )

Boulevard du Rectorat, 7, Batiment 31
Sart-Tilman
B-4000 Liege, 4000
Belgium
+32 4 366 3108 (Phone)
+32 4 366 3106 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.CESifo.de

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) ( email )

34 Vopie Roman Pays
Louvain la Neuve
Belgium

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