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Brunner, Johann K.
Pech, Susanne
Year of Publication: 
Series/Report no.: 
Working Paper No. 1717
We study the optimal tax system in a dynamic model where di¤erences in wages induce di¤erences in inheritances, and the transition from parent ability to child ability is described by a Markov chain. In accordance with empirical evidence, we assume that in any generation more able individuals are likely to have a more able parent, which implies that in the steady state they also tend to receive larger inheritances than less able individuals. We show that the Atkinson-Stiglitz result on the redundancy of indirect taxes does not hold in this framework. In particular, given an optimal income tax, a bequest tax as well as a consumption tax are potential instruments for additional redistribution. For the bequest tax the sign of the overall welfare e¤ect depends on the reaction of bequests and on inequality aversion, while for the consumption tax the sign is always positive because the distorting e¤ect is outweighed by the induced increase in wealth accumulation.
Optimal taxation
estate tax
consumption tax
wealth transmission
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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