Death and Taxes: The Market for Flower Bonds

  • Published: Apr 30, 2012
  • Pages: 685-698
  • DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-6261.1987.tb04578.x


Certain U.S. Government securities, known as flower bonds, can be redeemed at par plus accrued interest for the purpose of paying estate taxes, if held at the time of death. Thus, a flower bond, selling at a discount, is like a straight bond plus a life insurance policy. An equilibrium derived from a rational flower bond pricing model implies the existence of clienteles: individuals with the highest death probabilities hold the deepest discount flower bonds. The empirical implication, that bonds with the deepest discount should be redeemed at the fastest rate, is tested and the results support the proposition.

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