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The Carnegie Conjecture: Some Empirical Evidence

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  • Douglas Holtz-Eakin
  • David Joulfaian
  • Harvey S. Rosen

Abstract

This paper examines tax return-generated data on the labor force behavior of people before and after they receive inheritances. The results are consistent with Andrew Carnegie's century-old assertion that large inheritances decrease a person's labor force participation. For example, a single person who receives an inheritance of over $150,000 is roughly four times more likely to leave the labor force than a person with an inheritance below $25,000. Additional, albeit weaker, evidence suggests that large inheritances depress labor supply, even when participation is unaltered.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4118.

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Date of creation: Jul 1992
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Publication status: published as Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. CVIII, pp. 413-436 (May 1993).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4118

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  1. Bernheim, B Douglas & Shleifer, Andrei & Summers, Lawrence H, 1985. "The Strategic Bequest Motive," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(6), pages 1045-76, December.
  2. B. Douglas Bernheim, 1987. "Ricardian Equivalence: An Evaluation of Theory and Evidence," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1987, Volume 2, pages 263-316 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. David Joulfaian & Mark O. Wilhelm, 1994. "Inheritance and Labor Supply," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(4), pages 1205-1234.
  4. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
  5. Duncan, Greg J & Hill, Daniel H, 1989. "Assessing the Quality of Household Panel Data: The Case of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 7(4), pages 441-52, October.
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