Salience of Inherited Wealth and the Support for Inheritance Taxation

Spencer Bastani, Daniel Waldenström

Publikation: Working/Discussion PaperWU Working Paper

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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.
HerausgeberWU Vienna University of Economics and Business
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 21 Juni 2019


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