[OPE-L:7824] IGnobel Economics Prize

From: Asfilho@aol.com
Date: Wed Oct 16 2002 - 11:54:46 EDT

The 2001 IGnobel Economics Prize Winner

Every year at Harvard, an IGnobel prize awarded to a preposterous paper 
published by an academic. Last years' award winner in economics was the 
following: Joel Slemrod, of the University of Michigan Business School, and 
Wojciech Kopczuk, of University of British Columbia, for their conclusion 
that people find a way to postpone their deaths if that that would qualify 
them for a lower rate on the inheritance tax. [REFERENCE:"Dying to Save 
Taxes: Evidence from Estate Tax Returns on the Death Elasticity," National 
Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper No. W8158, March 2001.]. Dont 
believe me? Check out the link <http://papers.nber.org/papers/W8158>


This paper examines data from U.S. federal tax returns to shed light on 
whether the timing of death is responsive to its tax consequences. We 
investigate the temporal pattern of deaths around the time of changes in the 
estate tax system periods when living longer, or dying sooner, could 
significantly affect estate tax liability. We find some evidence that there 
is a small death elasticity, although we cannot rule out that what we have 
uncovered is ex post doctoring of the reported date of death. However, the 
fact that we find that postponement, rather than acceleration, of death is 
more likely to occur suggests that this phenomenon is at last partly a real 
(albeit timing) response to taxation.

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