Salience of Inherited Wealth and the Support for Inheritance Taxation

Spencer Bastani, Daniel Waldenström

Publication: Working/Discussion PaperWU Working Paper

108 Downloads (Pure)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationVienna
PublisherWU Vienna University of Economics and Business
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2019

Publication series

SeriesINEQ Working Paper Series

WU Working Paper Series

  • INEQ Working Paper Series

Cite this