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Aspirations, Habit Formation, and Bequest Motive

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  • Jaime Alonso-Carrera
  • Jordi Caballé
  • Xavier Raurich

Abstract

We consider an economy where individuals use their standard of living based on past consumption in order to evaluate the utility arising from current consumption. We analyse how this process of preference formation affects the bequest motive. We show that habits (based on one's own past consumption) reduce the willingness of individuals to leave bequests, while aspirations (based on the standard of living of parents) make the existence of positive bequests easier. The long-run effects of both habits and aspirations on capital stock and on the amount of bequests depend on whether or not the bequest motive is operative. Copyright 2007 The Author(s). Journal compilation Royal Economic Society 2007.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 117 (2007)
Issue (Month): 520 (04)
Pages: 813-836

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:117:y:2007:i:520:p:813-836

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References

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  1. Jaime Alonso-Carrera & Jordi Caball?Author-Email: jordi.caballe@uab.es & Xavier Raurich, . "Growth, Habit Formation, and Catching-up\ with the Joneses," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 497.01, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  2. 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..
  3. Croix, David de la & Michel, Philippe, 1999. "Optimal growth when tastes are inherited," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 519-537, February.
  4. de la Croix, David, 1996. "The Dynamics of Bequeathed Tastes," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 1996004, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  5. Jaime Alonso-Carrera & Jordi Caballe & Xavier Raurich, 2001. "Consumption Externalities, Habit Formation, and Equilibrium Efficiency," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 499.01, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  6. Abel, Andrew B, 1986. "Capital Accumulation and Uncertain Lifetimes with Adverse Selection," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(5), pages 1079-97, September.
  7. de la Croix, David & Michel, Philippe, 1997. "Altruism and self-refrain," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 1998010, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES), revised 00 Apr 1998.
  8. Harald Uhlig & Lars Ljungqvist, 2000. "Tax Policy and Aggregate Demand Management under Catching Up with the Joneses," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 356-366, June.
  9. Andrew B. Abel, 1998. "Risk Premia and Term Premia in General Equilibrium," NBER Working Papers 6683, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Caballe, J., 1995. "Growth Effects of Fiscal Policy under Altruism and Low Elasticity of Intertemporal Substitution," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 309.95, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  11. Jody Overland & Christopher D. Carroll & David N. Weil, 2000. "Saving and Growth with Habit Formation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 341-355, June.
  12. Caballe, J., 1991. "Endogeneous Growth, Human Capital and Bequests in a Life-Cycle Model," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 158.91, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  13. Carroll, Christopher D & Overland, Jody & Weil, David N, 1997. " Comparison Utility in a Growth Model," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 2(4), pages 339-67, December.
  14. Jhy-yuan Shieh & Ching-chong Lai & Wen-ya Chang, 2000. "Addictive behavior and endogenous growth," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 72(3), pages 263-273, October.
  15. Mohamed Jellal & Francois-Charles Wolff, 2002. "Altruistic Bequests with Inherited Tastes," International Journal of Business and Economics, College of Business, and College of Finance, Feng Chia University, Taichung, Taiwan, vol. 1(2), pages 95-113, August.
  16. Galor, Oded & Ryder, Harl E., 1989. "Existence, uniqueness, and stability of equilibrium in an overlapping-generations model with productive capital," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 360-375, December.
  17. 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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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Barnett, Richard C. & Bhattacharya, Joydeep, 2006. "Rejuveniles and Growth," Staff General Research Papers 12653, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  2. Valente, Simone, 2011. "Habit formation and resource dependence in dynastic economies," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 131-145, May.
  3. Garance Genicot & Debraj Ray, 2014. "Aspirations and Inequality," NBER Working Papers 19976, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Angelini, Viola, 2009. "Consumption and habit formation when time horizon is finite," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 103(2), pages 113-116, May.
  5. Emmanuelle Augeraud-Veron & Mauro Bambi, 2012. "Does habit formation always increase the agents' desire to smooth consumption?," Discussion Papers 12/12, Department of Economics, University of York.
  6. Carlos Vargas-Silva, 2009. "Crime and Remittance Transfers," Working Papers 0903, Sam Houston State University, Department of Economics and International Business.
  7. Luciano Fanti, 2012. "Habits, aspirations and endogenous fertility," Discussion Papers 2012/142, Dipartimento di Economia e Management (DEM), University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.
  8. Schäfer, Andreas & Valente, Simone, 2011. "Habit Formation, Dynastic Altruism, And Population Dynamics," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(03), pages 365-397, June.
  9. Jordi Caballé & Ana Moro-Egido, 2008. "The Effect of Aspirations, Habits, and Social Security on the Distribution of Wealth," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 761.08, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  10. Luca Gori & Mauro Sodini, 2014. "Indeterminacy and nonlinear dynamics in an OLG growth model with endogenous labour supply and inherited tastes," Decisions in Economics and Finance, Springer, vol. 37(1), pages 159-179, April.
  11. Luciano Fanti, 2012. "Habits, aspirations and endogenous fertility," Discussion Papers 2012/143, Dipartimento di Economia e Management (DEM), University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.
  12. Casado, Jose Maria & Alvarez-Cuadrado, Francisco & Labeaga, Jose Maria & Sutthiphisal, Dhanoos, 2012. "Envy and habits: Panel data estimates of interdependent preferences," MERIT Working Papers 054, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  13. Jaime Alonso-Carrera & Jordi Caballe & Xavier Raurich, 2005. "Estate Taxes, Consumption Externalities, and Altruism," Working Papers 232, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.

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