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Expected Bequests and Their Distribution

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  • Michael Hurd
  • James P. Smith

Abstract

Based on a sample of actual bequests that is population-representative and on the subjective probability of bequests, we estimate the distribution of bequests that the older population will make. We find that the distribution is highly skewed, so that the typical baby-boom person will receive a very modest inheritance. This is partly due to the skewed distribution of wealth and partly due to the tendency of the wealthy to have fewer children. But it is also due to anticipated dissaving: we estimate that households in the age band 70-74 will bequeath just 39% of their wealth, consuming the rest before they die.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9142.

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Date of creation: Sep 2002
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9142

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  1. Andrew B. Abel, 2002. "The Effects of a Baby Boom on Stock Prices and Capital Accumulation in the Presence of Social Security," NBER Working Papers 9210, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Orazio P. Attanasio & Hilary Williamson Hoynes, 2000. "Differential Mortality and Wealth Accumulation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(1), pages 1-29.
  3. Michael D. Hurd, 1999. "Mortality Risk and Consumption by Couples," NBER Working Papers 7048, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Martin Browning & Annamaria Lusardi, 1996. "Household Saving: Micro Theories and Micro Facts," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(4), pages 1797-1855, December.
  5. Michael D. Hurd & James P. Smith, 1999. "Anticipated and Actual Bequests," NBER Working Papers 7380, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Cox, Donald, 1987. "Motives for Private Income Transfers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 508-46, June.
  7. Shleifer, Andrei & Summers, Lawrence H. & Bernheim, B. Douglas, 1986. "The Strategic Bequest Motive," Scholarly Articles 3721794, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. William G. Gale & John Karl Scholz, 1994. "Intergenerational Transfers and the Accumulation of Wealth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 145-160, Fall.
  9. John Laitner & F. Thomas Juster, 1993. "New evidence on altruism: a study of TIAA-CREF retirees," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 86, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  10. Wilhelm, Mark O, 1996. "Bequest Behavior and the Effect of Heirs' Earnings: Testing the Altruistic Model of Bequests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 874-92, September.
  11. 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.
  12. James P. Smith, 2004. "Why is Wealth Inequality Rising?," Macroeconomics 0402012, EconWPA.
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  14. 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.
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  16. Michael Hurd & Monika Reti, 2003. "The Effects of Large Capital Gains on Work and Consumption: Evidence from Four Waves of the HRS," Working Papers 03-14, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
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Cited by:
  1. Lee Lockwood, 2012. "Bequest Motives and the Annuity Puzzle," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 15(2), pages 226-243, April.
  2. G´┐Żnther Fink & Silvia Redaelli, 2005. "Understanding Bequest Motives An Empirical Analysis of Intergenerational Transfers," DNB Working Papers 042, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
  3. Li Gan & Guan Gong, 2005. "Subjective Morality Risks and Bequests," 2005 Meeting Papers 900, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  4. Gabor Kezdi & Purvi Sevak, 2004. "Economic Adjustment of Recent Retirees to Adverse Wealth Shocks," Working Papers wp075, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  5. Joseph G. Altonji & Ernesto Villanueva, 2003. "The Marginal Propensity to Spend on Adult Children," Working Papers 90, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  6. Claudio Campanale, 2007. "Increasing Returns to Savings and Wealth Inequality," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 10(4), pages 646-675, October.
  7. Ernesto Villanueva, 2005. "Inter vivos transfers and bequests in three OECD countries," Economic Policy, CEPR & CES & MSH, vol. 20(43), pages 505-565, 07.
  8. Meta Brown, 2006. "Informal Care and the Division of End-of-Life Transfers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(1).
  9. Luigi, Cannnari & Giovanni, D'Alessio, 2008. "Intergenerational Transfers in Italy," MPRA Paper 15111, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. Kristin J. Kleinjans & Jinkook Lee, 2006. "The link between individual expectations and savings: Do nursing home expectations matter?," Economics Working Papers 2006-05, School of Economics and Management, University of Aarhus.

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