Wealth disparities have been increasing over time in most countries. But what are the implications of bequests, especially for the inter-generational transmission of those disparities? asked Professor Charles Yuji Horioka of the Research Institute for Economics and Business Administration, Kobe University, at an “Inequality and…” lecture organised by the Institute and the University of Luxembourg as part of the “Inequality and…?” series.

However, the motivation for bequests (altruistic or selfish, dynastic motives or social norms…) and the quantitative importance of bequests differ considerably from country to country. In the US and Canada, the share of transferred wealth is 35-45%, and it is somewhat higher in France and lower in Japan.

Most simulations and empirical studies find that bequests and other inter-generational transfers increase inequality. So it may be desirable to raise taxes on bequests and gifts, close bequest tax loopholes or introduce wealth taxes, Professor Horioka concluded.

Click here for the presentation.