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Why Do People Leave Bequests? For Love or Self-Interest? Evidence from a New International Survey of Bequest Plans

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  • Charles Yuji Horioka

    (School of Economics, University of the Philippines Diliman)

Abstract

This paper discusses three alternative assumptions concerning household preferences (altruism, self-interest, and a desire for dynasty building) and shows that these assumptions have very different implications for bequest motives and bequest division. After reviewing some of the literature on actual bequests, bequest motives, and bequest division, the paper presents data on the strength of bequest motives, stated bequest motives, and bequest division plans from a new international survey conducted in China, India, Japan, and the United States. It finds striking inter-country differences in bequest plans, with the bequest plans of Americans and Indians appearing to be much more consistent with altruistic preferences than those of the Japanese and Chinese and the bequest plans of the Japanese and Chinese appearing to be much more consistent with selfish preferences than those of Americans and Indians. These findings have important implications for the efficacy and desirability of stimulative fiscal policies, public pensions, and inheritance taxes.

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File URL: http://www.econ.upd.edu.ph/dp/index.php/dp/article/view/1459
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of the Philippines School of Economics in its series UP School of Economics Discussion Papers with number 201406.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: May 2014
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published as UPSE Discussion Paper No. 2014-06 R, May 2014
Handle: RePEc:phs:dpaper:201406

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Postal: Diliman, Quezon City 1101
Phone: 927-9686
Web page: http://www.econ.upd.edu.ph/
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Related research

Keywords: Bequests; inheritances; estates; inter vivos transfers; intergenerational transfers; bequest motives; bequest division; equal division; altruism; selfishness; selfish life cycle model; altruism model; dynasty model; primogeniture; selfish exchange model; culture; religiosity; religion;

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