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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. Hurd, Michael D, 1987. "Savings of the Elderly and Desired Bequests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 298-312, June.
  2. Kotlikoff, Laurence J, 1988. "Intergenerational Transfers and Savings," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 41-58, Spring.
  3. Modigliani, Franco, 1986. "Life Cycle, Individual Thrift, and the Wealth of Nations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(3), pages 297-313, June.
  4. Hurd, Michael D, 1989. "Mortality Risk and Bequests," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(4), pages 779-813, July.
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  7. Blinder, Alan S, 1975. "Distribution Effects and the Aggregate Consumption Function," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(3), pages 447-75, June.
  8. 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.
  9. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Lawrence H. Summers, 1980. "The Role of Intergenerational Transfers in Aggregate Capital Accumulation," NBER Working Papers 0445, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Abowd, John M & Card, David, 1989. "On the Covariance Structure of Earnings and Hours Changes," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 411-45, March.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Andrew B. Abel, 1986. "Bequests and Social Security With Uncertain Lifetimes," NBER Working Papers 1372, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Barro, Robert J., 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Scholarly Articles 3451399, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  17. Mirer, Thad W, 1979. "The Wealth-Age Relation among the Aged," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(3), pages 435-43, June.
  18. Modigliani, Franco, 1988. "The Role of Intergenerational Transfers and Life Cycle Saving in the Accumulation of Wealth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 15-40, Spring.
  19. 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.
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  22. 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.
  23. White, Halbert, 1982. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Independent Observations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(2), pages 483-99, March.
  24. Laitner, John, 1988. "Bequests, Gifts, and Social Security," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(2), pages 275-99, April.
  25. Cox, Donald, 1987. "Motives for Private Income Transfers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 508-46, June.
  26. Zvi Bodie & John B. Shoven & David A. Wise, 1988. "Pensions in the U.S. Economy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bodi88-1, octubre-d.
  27. 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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