Philippe De Donder, and Pierre Pestieau, Lobbying, family concerns and the lack of political support for estate taxation, Economics & Politics, vol. 27, n. 3, November 2015, pp. 389–403.


We provide an explanation for why estate taxation is surprisingly little used over the world, given the skewness of the estate distribution. Taxing estates implies meddling with intra-family decisions, which may be frown upon by many. At the same time, the concentration of estates means that a low proportion of the population stands to gain a lot by decreasing estate taxation. We provide an analytical model, together with numerical simulations, where agents bequeathing large estates make monetary contributions that are used to play up the salience of the encroachment aspects of estate taxation on family decisions in order to decrease its political support.


estate taxation; family values; political economy; lobbying; Kantian equilibrium;

JEL codes

  • D72: Political Processes: Rent-Seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
  • H31: Household

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