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The long and the short of it: Inheritance and wealth in Ireland

Simone Arrigoni, Laura Boyd and Tara McIndoe-Calder
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Laura Boyd: Central Bank of Ireland
Tara McIndoe-Calder: Central Bank of Ireland

No 1/EL/23, Economic Letters from Central Bank of Ireland

Abstract: Inheritances matter for wealth accumulation, and are often central to policy debates on wealth taxes. This letter shows that up to 2020 over one-third of households in Ireland had received inherited wealth, the cumulated value of which (€97 billion) accounts for approximately one sixth of current net wealth for these households. But the impact is potentially wider than the direct value of the inheritance itself: inheritors are typically much wealthier and own more property. Nevertheless, inherited wealth represents a larger share of total net wealth for households in the middle of the wealth distribution than for the wealthiest households. As a result, our analysis shows that inheritances in Ireland contribute little to wealth inequality, and may even have reduced it over time, similar to findings for Britain and the United States.

Date: 2023-01
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