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Post Mortem Reputation, Compensatory Gifts and Equal Bequests

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Author Info

  • Lundholm, Michael

    ()
    (Department of Economics)

  • Ohlsson, Henry

    ()
    (Department of Economics)

Abstract

The empirical evidence suggests that parents use inter vivos gifts (i.e., transfers of tangible and financial property) to compensate less well off children whereas post mortem bequests are divided equally among siblings. We study a theoretical model assuming, first, that the amounts given is private information, only known to the donor and the donee, while the amounts bequeathed is public information. Second, we assume that parents care about the reputation that their bequest behavior will leave them after their death. More specifically, this reputation is deteriorating in the difference in amounts inherited. We show that, given optimal choice of altruistic parents is compensatory gifts and equal bequests.

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File URL: http://swopec.hhs.se/uunewp/papers/uunewp1999_003.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Uppsala University, Department of Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number 1999:3.

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Length: 6 pages
Date of creation: 10 Jan 1999
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Economics Letters, 2000, pages 165-171.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:uunewp:1999_003

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Department of Economics, Uppsala University, P. O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Phone: + 46 18 471 25 00
Fax: + 46 18 471 14 78
Email:
Web page: http://www.nek.uu.se/
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Keywords: altruism; bequests; inheritances; gifts; equal division; post mortem reputation; social norm; information;

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  1. Stark, Oded, 1998. "Equal bequests and parental altruism: compatibility or orthogonality?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 167-171, August.
  2. 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.
  3. Wilhelm, Mark O, 1996. "Bequest Behavior and the Effect of Heirs' Earnings: Testing the Altruistic Model of Bequests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 874-92, September.
  4. Helmuth Cremer & Pierre Pestieau, 1996. "Bequests as a heir "discipline device"," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 9(4), pages 405-414.
  5. Laitner, John, 1993. "Intergenerational and interhousehold economic links," Handbook of Population and Family Economics, in: M. R. Rosenzweig & Stark, O. (ed.), Handbook of Population and Family Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 5, pages 189-238 Elsevier.
  6. Dunn, Thomas A. & Phillips, John W., 1997. "The timing and division of parental transfers to children," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 135-137, February.
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