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Inheritances, Health and Death

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  • Beomsoo Kim
  • Christopher J. Ruhm

Abstract

We examine how wealth shocks, in the form of inheritances, affect the mortality rates, health status and health behaviors of older adults, using data from eight waves of the Health and Retirement Survey (HRS). Our main finding is that bequests do not have substantial effects on health, although some improvements in quality-of-life are possible. This absence occurs despite increases in out-of-pocket (OOP) spending on health care and in the utilization of medical services, especially discretionary and non-lifesaving types such as dental care. Nor can we find a convincing indication of changes in lifestyles that offset the benefits of increased medical care. Inheritances are associated with higher alcohol consumption, but with no change in smoking or exercise and a possible decrease in obesity.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15364.

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Date of creation: Sep 2009
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Publication status: published as Beomsoo Kim & Christopher J. Ruhm, 2012. "Inheritances, health and death," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(2), pages 127-144, 02.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15364

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Cited by:
  1. Melissa McInerney & Jennifer M. Mellor & Lauren Hersch Nicholas, 2013. "Recession Depression: Mental Health Effects of the 2008 Stock Market Crash," CESifo Working Paper Series 4263, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Fichera, E.; & Gathergood, J.;, 2013. "House Prices, Home Equity and Health," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 13/01, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
  3. Wankyo Chung & Beomsoo Kim, 2012. "Money Transfer and Birth Weight: A Causal Link from Alaska," Discussion Paper Series 1202, Institute of Economic Research, Korea University.
  4. Maclean, Johanna Catherine, 2013. "The health effects of leaving school in a bad economy," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 951-964.
  5. Owen O'Donnell & Eddy Van Doorslaer & Tom Van Ourti, 2013. "Health and Inequality," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-170/V, Tinbergen Institute.
  6. Dusan Paredes Araya & Timothy Komarek & Scott Loveridge, 2014. "Assessing the Income and Employment Effects of Shale Gas Extraction Windfalls: Evidence from the Marcellus Region," Documentos de Trabajo en Economia y Ciencia Regional 51, Universidad Catolica del Norte, Chile, Department of Economics, revised Mar 2014.

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