The impact of bequest taxation on savings and transfers




saving, inheritance tax, bequest, overlapping generation, life cycle


Research background: The paper investigates the impact of bequest taxation on saving and transfers when parents and children make decisions consistently. It complements the predictions of Gale and Perozek's life-cycle modeling (2001) when decisions of parents and children are set independently and can be time-inconsistent.

Purpose of the article: The paper strives to answer the question of whether taxation of bequest harms savings and inter vivos transfers. The previous results indicated that this is possible for some bequest motives. Our results show that this is not likely for the most typical values of parameters.

Methods: The analysis involves economic modeling of four bequest motives: altruistic, paternalistic, accidental, and exchange. The method is based on the overlapping generation approach and life-cycle approach in the case of a paternalistic bequest. The results are supplemented with numerical simulations.

Findings & value added: For the altruistic motive, savings are smaller if interest rates are low relative to the tax rate and the utility of one's consumption is more valuable than the utility of the next generations. For the accidental motive, savings decrease with small interest rates, high taxation and long-life expectancy. For the paternalistic motive, savings decrease when the interest rate and the value of future utility are low. For the exchange motive, savings are higher after a tax increase, but it depends on the value of attention and life expectancy. The general conclusion is that higher bequest taxation hamper saving behavior and may disturb the intergenerational exchange process. The bequest tax should, therefore, be set low, especially for aging populations, in order to induce higher savings and force the young to provide the elderly with higher attention.


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How to Cite

Kudła, J., Kruszewski, R., Dudek, M., & Walczyk, K. (2023). The impact of bequest taxation on savings and transfers. Equilibrium. Quarterly Journal of Economics and Economic Policy, 18(2), 333–365.