Perceptions of Inherited Wealth and the Support for Inheritance Taxation

Reprint No. 2021:19

Author(s): Spencer Bastani and Daniel WaldenströmYear: 2021 Title: Economica Volume (No.): 88 (350) Pages: 532–569
Online article (restrictions may apply)

Perceptions of Inherited Wealth and the Support for Inheritance Taxation Spencer Bastani and Daniel Waldenström

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. Changes in the perceived economic importance of inherited wealth and altered views on whether luck matters most for economic success appear to be 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.

Bastani, Spencer and Daniel Waldenström (2021), "Perceptions of Inherited Wealth and the Support for Inheritance Taxation". Economica 88(350), 532–569.

Daniel Waldenström


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Spencer Bastani


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Interdisciplinary European Studies

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This book explores the complex and ever-changing relationship between the European Union and its member states. The recent surge in tension in this relationship has been prompted by the actions of some member state governments as they question fundamental EU values and principles and refuse to implement common decisions seemingly on the basis of narrowly defined national interests.

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