Do Estate Taxes Reduce Saving?

53 Pages Posted: 27 Nov 2000

See all articles by William G. Gale

William G. Gale

Brookings Institution

Maria G. Perozek

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System


This paper examines the impact of estate taxes on saving in a series of models that posit different motivations for transfers between parents and children. We show that the effects of the tax on saving depend on why donors give bequests. In addition, under each motive examined - bequests as accidents, as exchange, and as altruism - estate taxes can raise net saving by the donor and recipient. Recycling the tax revenue to the donor generally reduces the impact of estate taxes on saving, but still leaves open the possibility that the net saving effect is positive. Because there is no consensus on the correct model of intergenerational transfers, it is impossible to pin down the effect of estate taxation on saving. Nevertheless, our analysis indicates that the widely-held presumption that estate taxes reduce saving is not a general result.

JEL Classification: H24, H31

Suggested Citation

Gale, William G. and Perozek, Maria G., Do Estate Taxes Reduce Saving?. Available at SSRN: or

William G. Gale (Contact Author)

Brookings Institution ( email )

1775 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States
202-797-6148 (Phone)
202-797-6181 (Fax)

Maria G. Perozek

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System ( email )

20th Street and Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20551
United States
202-452-2692 (Phone)
202-728-5889 (Fax)

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics