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Utility from Accumulation

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  • Louis Kaplow

Abstract

The possibility that individuals may derive utility from the mere fact of holding wealth has long been recognized. A simple intertemporal model featuring utility from accumulation is used here to examine consumption and savings, the choice between inter vivos gifts and bequests (both to descendants and to charities), and levels of annuitization. Introducing utility from accumulation helps to explain a number of empirical regularities that otherwise seem inconsistent with optimizing behavior. Moreover, because individuals who derive significant utility from accumulation will tend to save more and, in the long run, give more than others do, this source of utility may be especially important in analyzing savings behavior, gifts and bequests, and charitable contributions.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15595.

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Date of creation: Dec 2009
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15595

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  1. Gurdip S. Bakshi & Zhiwu Chen, 1996. "The Spirit of Capitalism and Stock-Market Prices," CEMA Working Papers 511, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
  2. Gong, Liutang & Zou, Heng-fu, 2002. "Direct preferences for wealth, the risk premium puzzle, growth, and policy effectiveness," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 247-270, February.
  3. B. Douglas Bernheim & Antonio Rangel, 2005. "Behavioral Public Economics: Welfare and Policy Analysis with Non-Standard Decision-Makers," NBER Working Papers 11518, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Bernheim, B. Douglas, 2002. "Taxation and saving," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 18, pages 1173-1249 Elsevier.
  5. Thomas Davidoff & Jeffrey R. Brown & Peter A. Diamond, 2005. "Annuities and Individual Welfare," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1573-1590, December.
  6. Hurd, Michael D, 1990. "Research on the Elderly: Economic Status, Retirement, and Consumption and Saving," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 28(2), pages 565-637, June.
  7. Venti, Steven F & Wise, David A, 1998. "The Cause of Wealth Dispersion at Retirement: Choice or Chance?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 185-91, May.
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