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Intergenerational Transfers, Aging, and Uncertainty

In: Advances in the Economics of Aging

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  • David N. Weil

Abstract

Research on intergenerational transmission of wealth has pointed to uncertainty -- about the date of one's own death, for example -- as a potential source of significant bequest flows. In this paper I examine the effects of this same uncertainty on the behavior of those who expect to receive bequests. Potential heirs who are prudent will consume less than would be warranted by the size of their expected bequests, and so on average consumption will rise at the age when actual bequests are received. I examine the effect of this uncertainty on the outcome of population aging. Population aging, by changing the relative sizes of the bequeathing generation and those receiving bequests, raises the average size of bequests received and reduces the saving of the bequest-receiving generation. I show that accounting for the effects of uncertainty slows down the reduction in saving that results from population aging.

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This chapter was published in:

  • David A. Wise, 1996. "Advances in the Economics of Aging," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number wise96-1, July.
    This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 7330.

    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:7330

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    Cited by:
    1. Pecchenino, Rowena A & Pollard, Patricia S, 1997. "The Effects of Annuities, Bequests, and Aging in an Overlapping Generations Model of Endogenous Growth," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(440), pages 26-46, January.
    2. David Joulfaian, 2006. "Inheritance and Saving," NBER Working Papers 12569, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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