NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Inter Vivos Transfers of Ownership in Family Firms

James R. Hines Jr., Niklas Potrafke, Marina Riem, Christoph Schinke

NBER Working Paper No. 22301
Issued in June 2016
NBER Program(s):Public Economics, Productivity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship

This paper examines the determinants of inter vivos (lifetime) transfers of ownership in German family firms between 2000 and 2013. Survey evidence indicates that owners of larger firms, and firms with strong current business conditions, transfer ownership at higher rates than others. When a firm’s self-described business condition improves from “normal” to “good” the likelihood of an inter vivos transfer increases by 46 percent. Inter vivos transfer rates also rose following a 2009 reform that reduced transfer taxes. These patterns suggest that transfer taxes significantly influence rates and timing of inter vivos ownership transfers.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w22301

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