Salience of Inherited Wealth and the Support for Inheritance Taxation

60 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2019

See all articles by Spencer Bastani

Spencer Bastani

Linnaeus University - Department of Economics and Statistics

Daniel Waldenström

Uppsala University - Department of Economics; Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN)

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Date Written: January 2019

Abstract

We study how attitudes to inheritance taxation are influenced by information about the role of inherited wealth in society. Using a randomized experiment in a register-linked Swedish survey, we find that informing individuals about the large aggregate importance of inherited wealth and its link to inequality of opportunity significantly increases the support for inheritance taxation. The effect is almost uniform across socio-economic groups and survives a battery of robustness tests. Changes in the perceived economic importance of inherited wealth and altered views on whether luck matters most for economic success appear to be the main driving factors behind the treatment effect. Our findings suggest that the low salience of inherited wealth could be one explanation behind the relatively marginalized role of inheritance taxation in developed economies.

Keywords: Capital taxation, Equality of Opportunity, randomized experiment, tax attitudes

JEL Classification: D31, H20, H31

Suggested Citation

Bastani, Spencer and Waldenström, Daniel, Salience of Inherited Wealth and the Support for Inheritance Taxation (January 2019). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP13484, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3324219

Spencer Bastani (Contact Author)

Linnaeus University - Department of Economics and Statistics ( email )

Växjö, 351 06
Sweden

Daniel Waldenström

Uppsala University - Department of Economics ( email )

Box 513
SE-75120 Uppsala
Sweden

HOME PAGE: http://www.uueconomics.se/danielw

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) ( email )

Box 55665
Grevgatan 34, 2nd floor
Stockholm, SE-102 15
Sweden

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