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Specification of the Joy of Giving: Insights from Altruism

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  • Andrew B. Abel
  • Mark Warshawsky

Abstract

This paper analyzes the joy of giving bequest motive in which the utility obtained from leaving a bequest depends only on the size of the bequest. It exploits the fact that this formulation can be interpreted as a reduced form of an altruistic bequest motive to derive a relation between the value of the altruism parameter and the value of the joy of giving parameter. Using previous discussions of an a priori range of plausible values for the altruism parameter we then derive plausible restrictions on the joy of giving parameter. We demonstrate that this parameter may well be orders of magnitude larger than assumed in the existing literature.

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Paper provided by Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research in its series Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers with number 3-87.

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Handle: RePEc:fth:pennfi:3-87

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  1. Fischer, Stanley, 1973. "A Life Cycle Model of Life Insurance Purchases," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(1), pages 132-52, February.
  2. Weil, Philippe, 1987. "Love thy children : Reflections on the Barro debt neutrality theorem," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 377-391, May.
  3. Drazen, Allan, 1978. "Government Debt, Human Capital, and Bequests in a Life-Cycle Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(3), pages 505-16, June.
  4. Zvi Bodie & John B. Shoven & David A. Wise, 1987. "Issues in Pension Economics," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bodi87-1.
  5. Richard, Scott F., 1975. "Optimal consumption, portfolio and life insurance rules for an uncertain lived individual in a continuous time model," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 187-203, June.
  6. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," NBER Working Papers 0042, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Abel, Andrew B, 1985. "Precautionary Saving and Accidental Bequests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 777-91, September.
  8. 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..
  9. Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1987. "IRAs and Saving," NBER Chapters, in: The Effects of Taxation on Capital Accumulation, pages 7-52 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Burbidge, John B, 1983. "Government Debt in an Overlapping-Generations Model with Bequests and Gifts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(1), pages 222-27, March.
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