The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Inheritance Taxes

  • Joseph A. Pechman
Reference work entry


Taxes on property left by individuals to their heirs are among the oldest forms of taxation. In societies in which property is privately owned, the state protects the property rights of the individual and supervises the transfer from one generation to the next. Consequently, the state has always regarded property transfers as appropriate objects of taxation. However, taxes on bequests and gifts raise very little revenue in modern tax systems.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access


  1. Cooper, G. 1979. A voluntary tax? New perspectives on sophisticated estate tax avoidance. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution.Google Scholar
  2. Meade, J.E. 1976. The structure and reform of direct taxation. Report of a Committee Chaired by Professor J.E. Meade. London: Institute for Fiscal Studies and Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  3. Rignano, E. 1924. The social significance of the inheritance tax, Trans. W.J. Schultz. New York: Knopf.Google Scholar
  4. Sandford, C.T., J.R.M. Willis, and D.J. Ironside. 1973. An accessions tax. London: Institute for Fiscal Studies.Google Scholar
  5. Shoup, C. 1966. Federal estate and gift taxes. Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution.Google Scholar
  6. Tait, A.A. 1967. The taxation of personal wealth. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.Google Scholar
  7. Vickrey, W. 1947. Agenda for progressive taxation. New York: The Ronald Press.Google Scholar
  8. Wedgwood, J. 1929. The economics of inheritance. London: G. Routledge & Sons.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph A. Pechman
    • 1
  1. 1.