The Merit of Ascription? Economic Elite Perceptions of Inheritance Taxation


Otro(a)s Autore(a)s: Atria, Jorge

Año: 2022

Revista: Social Justice Research

Atria, J. 2022. The Merit of Ascription? Economic Elite Perceptions of Inheritance Taxation. Social Justice Research. 35: 490-510.

Inheritance represents a conflict between the individual and society. On one hand, the intergenerational transmission of resources favors the reproduction of privilege. On the other hand, contemporary individualization processes prioritize individual achievement. This paper addresses this conflict through a sociological approach by analyzing perceptions of inheritance taxation based on 32 in-depth interviews with members of the economic elite in Chile. Findings show that the principle of individual freedom in decisions regarding resource use prevails over the redistributive function that controls inheritance and favors personal attainment. In addition, a negative view of inheritance prevails, which is sustained by three major repertoires of evaluation emphasizing its inefficiency, ineffectiveness, economic inconvenience, and lack of foundation, as its purpose or utility is unknown. This last argument is surprising because it does not reject this tax for its design or application; rather, it confronts some crucial ideas with which it is usually linked, namely opportunity levelling at the beginning of a new generation and redistribution of privilege.

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