Estate division: Equal sharing as choice, social norm, and legal requirement
Oscar Erixson and
Henry Ohlsson ()
No 2014:2, Working Paper Series, Center for Fiscal Studies from Uppsala University, Department of Economics
The objective of this essay is to study to what extent parents divide their estates unequally between their children and the determinants of this decision. We use a new dataset based on the estate reports for almost 70,000 Swedish widows, widowers, divorcees and unmarried individuals who died with positive estates and at least two children. Unequal sharing is unusual; depending on definitions only 2–12 percent of the estates are unequally divided. Previous studies for other countries, particularly from the US, find that around 20–40 percent of parents divide their estates unequally. We argue that the relatively low frequency of unequal sharing in Sweden might be explained by contextual factors such as the inheritance law, the transfer tax system, the income distribution, and the welfare state. We also estimate models with family fixed effects to study how the characteristics of children to parents who choose unequal division affect the size of the transfer. The empirical estimates show that bequests are not used to compensate for income differences between children, suggesting that bequests are not guided by altruistic motives. Children who are likely to have provided services to the parent receive more than their siblings however. This suggests that, at least some bequests are guided by exchange motives.
Keywords: estate division; wills; equal sharing; bequests motives; inheritances (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D10 D31 D91 H24 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 45 pages
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (7) Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
Our link check indicates that this URL is bad, the error code is: 404 Not Found
Working Paper: Estate Division: Equal Sharing as Choice, Social Norm, and Legal Requirement (2014)
Working Paper: Estate division: Equal sharing as choice, social norm, and legal requirement (2014)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:hhs:uufswp:2014_002
Access Statistics for this paper
More papers in Working Paper Series, Center for Fiscal Studies from Uppsala University, Department of Economics Department of Economics, Uppsala University, P. O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden. Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Katarina Grönvall ( this e-mail address is bad, please contact ).