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Dissaving by the Elderly, Transfer Motives and Liquidity Constraints

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  • Albert Ando
  • Luigi Guiso
  • Daniele Terlizzese

Abstract

Two explanations have been proposed for the observed slowness of wealth decumulation by the elderly in the literature: the precautionary saving induced by (uninsurable) uncertainty about the time of death or by the possibility of major catastrophes in old age that require large outlays; the desire to pass part of the accumulated assets on to one's heirs. We reconsider the issue of wealth decumulation by the elderly and assess the presence of a transfer motive, drawing on Italian data. We show that if intergenerational transfer of assets takes place well before the time of death, induced for instance by existence of liquidity constraints on younger families, then tests for the presence of a transfer motive based on the relative speed of decumulation of elderly households with and without a potential bequest motive might have little discriminatory power. We suggest that in this case one should look at the whole pattern of asset accumulation and decumulation. We also offer an alternative test of the bequest motive based on life insurance purchases.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4569.

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Date of creation: Dec 1993
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Publication status: published as Ando, Albert, Luigi Guiso, and Ignazio Visco (eds.) Saving and the accumulation of wealth: Essays on Italian household and government saving behavior. Cambridge; New York and Melbourne: Cambridge University Press, 1994.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4569

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  1. Laitner, John, 1993. "Long-run equilibria with borrowing constraints and altruism," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 17(1-2), pages 65-96.
  2. Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1987. "Intergenerational Transfers and Savings," NBER Working Papers 2237, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Ohtake, F., 1991. "Bequest Motives of Aged Households in Japan," ISER Discussion Paper 0249, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
  4. Albert Ando & Luigi Guiso & Daniele Terlizzese & Daniel Dorsainvil, 1991. "Younger Households Saving: Evidence From Japan and Italy," NBER Working Papers 3871, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Guiso, L. & Jappelli, T. & Terlizzese, D., 1992. "Why is Italy Saving Rate so High?," Papers 167, Banca Italia - Servizio di Studi.
  6. Barca, F. & Cannari, L. & Guiso, L., 1992. "Bequests and Saving for Retirement. What Impels the Accumulation of Wealth," Papers 165, Banca Italia - Servizio di Studi.
  7. Giucca, P. & Jappelli, T. & Terlizzese, D., 1992. "Earning Uncertainty and Precautionary Saving," Papers 161, Banca Italia - Servizio di Studi.
  8. Fischer, Stanley, 1973. "A Life Cycle Model of Life Insurance Purchases," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(1), pages 132-52, February.
  9. Modigliani, Franco, 1985. "Life Cycle, Individual Thrift and the Wealth of Nations," Nobel Prize in Economics documents 1985-1, Nobel Prize Committee.
  10. Cox, Donald, 1987. "Motives for Private Income Transfers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 508-46, June.
  11. Angus Deaton, 1989. "Saving and Liquidity Constraints," NBER Working Papers 3196, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Hurd, Michael D, 1987. "Savings of the Elderly and Desired Bequests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 298-312, June.
  13. Rossi, N. & Visco, I., 1992. "Private Savings and Government Deficit in Italy (1951-1990)," Papers 178, Banca Italia - Servizio di Studi.
  14. Guiso, Luigi & Jappelli, Tullio, 1991. "Intergenerational transfers and capital market imperfections : Evidence from a cross-section of Italian households," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 103-120, January.
  15. Shorrocks, A F, 1975. "The Age-Wealth Relationship: A Cross-Section and Cohort Analysis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 57(2), pages 155-63, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Mauro Baranzini, 2005. "Modigliani's life-cycle theory of savings fifty years later," Banca Nazionale del Lavoro Quarterly Review, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, vol. 58(233-234), pages 109-172.
  2. FORNERO Elsa & ROMITI Agnese & ROSSI Cristina, 2013. "Does Home Ownership Crowd Out Investment in Children's Human Capital?," CEPS/INSTEAD Working Paper Series 2013-21, CEPS/INSTEAD.
  3. Elsa Fornero & Maria Cristina Rossi & Maria Cesira Urzì Brancati, 2011. "Explaining why, right or wrong, (Italian) households do not like reverse mortgages," CeRP Working Papers 123, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
  4. Ernesto Villanueva, 2005. "Inter vivos transfers and bequests in three OECD countries," Economic Policy, CEPR & CES & MSH, vol. 20(43), pages 505-565, 07.
  5. Albert Ando & Andrea Moro, 1995. "Demographic Dynamics, Labor Force Participation and Household Asset Accumulation: Case of Japan," NBER Working Papers 5261, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Tullio Jappelli & Luigi Pistaferri, 1999. "The Dynamics of Household Wealth Accumulation in Italy," CSEF Working Papers 27, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy, revised 01 Dec 2000.
  7. Albert Ando & Sergio Nicoletti-Altimari, 2004. "A micro simulation model of demographic development and households' economic behavior in Italy," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 533, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  8. Luigi Guiso & Tullio Jappelli, 1999. "Private Transfers, Borrowing Constraints and the Timing of Homeownership," CSEF Working Papers 17, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  9. Villeneuve, Bertrand, 2000. "Life Insurance," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/5369, Paris Dauphine University.
  10. Mauro Baranzini, 2005. "Modigliani's life-cycle theory of savings fifty years later," BNL Quarterly Review, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, vol. 58(233-234), pages 109-172.

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