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New Evidence on Altruism: A Study of TIAA-CREF Retirees

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  • Laitner, John
  • Juster, F Thomas

Abstract

This paper investigates the role in household wealth accumulation of saving for bequests. It employs data from a 1988 survey of TIAA-CREF annuitants designed to measure pension and other net worth as well as lifetime earnings. About half of the households in the data plan to leave estates and the authors find that their behavior conforms with theoretical altruistic models. For the same families, the amount of wealth that the authors attribute to estate building is large. Nevertheless, altruism towards one's children does not seem to be the major explanation of saving in the overall sample. Copyright 1996 by American Economic Association.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 86 (1996)
Issue (Month): 4 (September)
Pages: 893-908

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:86:y:1996:i:4:p:893-908

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  1. Modigliani, Franco, 1985. "Life Cycle, Individual Thrift and the Wealth of Nations," Nobel Prize in Economics documents 1985-1, Nobel Prize Committee.
  2. Lee, Ronald D & Lapkoff, Shelley, 1988. "Intergenerational Flows of Time and Goods: Consequences of Slowing Population Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(3), pages 618-51, June.
  3. Joseph G. Altonji & Fumio Hayashi & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1989. "Is the Extended Family Altruistically Linked? Direct Tests Using Micro Data," NBER Working Papers 3046, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Menchik, Paul L & David, Martin, 1983. "Income Distribution, Lifetime Savings, and Bequests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 672-90, September.
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  6. Benjamin M. Friedman & Mark Warshawsky, 1988. "Annuity Prices and Saving Behavior in the United States," NBER Chapters, in: Pensions in the U.S. Economy, pages 53-84 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Kotlikoff, Laurence J & Summers, Lawrence H, 1981. "The Role of Intergenerational Transfers in Aggregate Capital Accumulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 706-32, August.
  8. Hurd, Michael D, 1987. "Savings of the Elderly and Desired Bequests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 298-312, June.
  9. Andrew B. Abel, 1986. "Bequests and Social Security With Uncertain Lifetimes," NBER Working Papers 1372, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Mirer, Thad W, 1979. "The Wealth-Age Relation among the Aged," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(3), pages 435-43, June.
  11. Laitner, John, 1991. "Modeling Marital Connections among Family Lines," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(6), pages 1123-41, December.
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  13. Benjamin M. Friedman & Mark Warshawsky, 1985. "Annuity Prices and Saving Behavior in the United States," NBER Working Papers 1683, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Dooley, Martin D & Gottschalk, Peter, 1984. "Earnings Inequality among Males in the United States: Trends and the Effect of Labor Force Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(1), pages 59-89, February.
  15. Laitner, John, 1988. "Bequests, Gifts, and Social Security," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(2), pages 275-99, April.
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  17. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
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  21. Tomes, Nigel, 1981. "The Family, Inheritance, and the Intergenerational Transmission of Inequality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 928-58, October.
  22. Hurd, Michael D, 1989. "Mortality Risk and Bequests," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(4), pages 779-813, July.
  23. Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1987. "Intergenerational Transfers and Savings," NBER Working Papers 2237, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Avery, Robert B & Kennickell, Arthur B, 1991. "Household Saving in the U.S," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 37(4), pages 409-32, December.
  25. Laitner, John, 1992. "Random earnings differences, lifetime liquidity constraints, and altruistic intergenerational transfers," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 135-170, December.
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