Intergenerational Transfers and Savings
AbstractIn recent years the role of intergenerational transfers in the process of wealth accumulation has been the subject of substantial empirical and theoretical analysis. The key question stimulating this research is what is the main explanation for savings? Is it primarily accumulation for retirement as claimed by Albert Ando, Richard Brumberg, and Franco Modigliani in their celebrated Life Cycle Model of Savings? Is it primarily intentional accumulation for intergenerational transfers? Or is it primarily precautionary savings, much of which may be bequeathed because of imperfections in annuity markets? This paper examines a range of findings on the importance of intergenerational transfers. The strong conclusion that emerges from this evidence is that intergenerational transfers play a very important, if not a key, role in aggregate wealth accumulation. While intergenerational transfers figure very large in savings, the precise motivation for such transfers is unclear. Intergenerational altruism might appear the most likely candidate, but at least sane stylized facts, such as the equal allocation of bequests among children, are strongly at adds with the altruism model. Other explanations involving imperfect insurance arrangements or payments for child services do not appear capable of explaining the substantial amounts of transfers actually observed. Sorting cut the relative contributions of different models to intergenerational transfers and the precise role of intergenerational transfers in the process of wealth accumulation remains an intriguing and exciting enterprise.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 2237.
Date of creation: Nov 1989
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Other versions of this item:
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- B. Douglas Bernheim, 1987.
"Dissaving after Retirement: Testing the Pure Life Cycle Hypothesis,"
in: Issues in Pension Economics, pages 237-280
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- B. Douglas Bernheim, 1987. "Dissaving After Retirement: Testing the Pure Life Cycle Hypothesis," NBER Working Papers 1409, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Cox, Donald, 1987. "Motives for Private Income Transfers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 508-46, June.
- B. Douglas Bernheim & Kyle Bagwell, 1989.
"Is Everything Neutral?,"
NBER Working Papers
2086, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Summers, Lawrence H, 1981. "Capital Taxation and Accumulation in a Life Cycle Growth Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 533-44, September.
- Laurence J. Kotlikoff & John B. Shoven & Avia Spivak, 1987.
"Annuity Markets, Savings, and the Capital Stock,"
in: Issues in Pension Economics, pages 211-236
National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Laurence J. Kotlikoff & John B. Shoven & Avia Spivak, 1987. "The Impact of Annuity Insurance on Savings and Inequality," NBER Working Papers 1403, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- J. B. Burbidge & A. L. Robb, 1985. "Evidence on Wealth-Age Profiles in Canadian Cross-Section Data," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 18(4), pages 854-75, November.
- Seidman, Laurence S, 1983. "Taxes in a Life Cycle Growth Model with Bequests and Inheritances," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(3), pages 437-41, June.
- David, Martin & Menchik, Paul L, 1985. "The Effect of Social Security on Lifetime Wealth Accumulation and Bequests," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 52(208), pages 421-34, November.
- Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1979. "Some Economic Implications of Life Span Extension," UCLA Economics Working Papers 155, UCLA Department of Economics.
- Blinder, Alan S, 1973. "A Model of Inherited Wealth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 87(4), pages 608-26, November.
- Sheshinski, Eytan & Weiss, Yoram, 1981.
"Uncertainty and Optimal Social Security Systems,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 96(2), pages 189-206, May.
- Skinner, Jonathan, 1985. "The Effect of Increased Longevity on Capital Accumulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(5), pages 1143-50, December.
- Diamond, P. A. & Hausman, J. A., 1984. "Individual retirement and savings behavior," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1-2), pages 81-114.
- Davies, James B, 1981. "Uncertain Lifetime, Consumption, and Dissaving in Retirement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(3), pages 561-77, June.
- Feldstein, Martin & Liebman, Jeffrey B., 2002.
Handbook of Public Economics,
in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 32, pages 2245-2324
- Eckstein, Zvi & Eichenbaum, Martin & Peled, Dan, 1985. "Uncertain lifetimes and the welfare enhancing properties of annuity markets and social security," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 303-326, April.
- B. Douglas Bernheim & Andrei Shleifer & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Bequests as a Means of Payment," NBER Working Papers 1303, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Menchik, Paul L & David, Martin, 1983. "Income Distribution, Lifetime Savings, and Bequests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 672-90, September.
- Alan J. Auerbach & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1985. "Simulating Alternative Social Security Responses to the Demographic Transition," NBER Working Papers 1308, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Atkinson, A B, 1971. "The Distribution of Wealth and the Individual Life-cycle," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(2), pages 239-54, July.
- Mirer, Thad W, 1979. "The Wealth-Age Relation among the Aged," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(3), pages 435-43, June.
- Menchik, Paul L, 1980. "Primogeniture, Equal Sharing, and the U. S. Distribution of Wealth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 94(2), pages 299-316, March.
This item has more than 25 citations. To prevent cluttering this page, these citations are listed on a separate page. reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statistics
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.