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Economics experiments involving death and taxes

An essay by John Carney on MSNBS’s NetNet blog looks at several experiments involving the relationship between death and taxes. The newest experiment, like several of the old ones, is being conducted in the United States.

The essay does not fail to mention the study that earned the 2001 Ig Nobel Prize in economics (but does fail to mention the Ig Nobel Prize):

“Economists Wojciech Kopczuk of Columbia University and Joel Slemrod of the University of Michigan studied how mortality rates in the United States were changed by falling estate taxes. They note that while the evidence of “death elasticity” is “not overwhelming,” every $10,000 in available tax savings increases the chance of dying in the low-tax period by 1.6 percent. This is true both when taxes are falling, so that people are surviving longer to achieve the tax savings, and when they are rising, so that people are dying earlier, according to Kopczuk and Slemrod.”

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