Discussion paper / School of Business & Economics ; 2011/10 : Economics
Capital levy; wealth distribution; microsimulation
336 Public finance
The idea of higher wealth taxes to finance the mounting public debt in the wake of
the financial crises is gaining ground in several OECD countries. We evaluate the revenue
and distributional effects of a one-time capital levy on personal net wealth that is currently on
the German political agenda. We use survey data from the German Socio-Economic Panel
(SOEP) and estimate the net wealth distribution at the very top, based on publicly available
information about very rich Germans. Since net wealth is strongly concentrated, the capital
levy could raise substantial revenue, even if relatively high personal allowances are granted.
We also analyze the compliance and administrative costs of the capital levy.
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