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Inheritances, Intergenerational Transfers, and the Accumulation of Health

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  • Katherine Grace Carman

Abstract

This paper considers the mechanisms behind a positive correlation between inheritances and health. First, there may merely be a correlation: those from families with enough wealth to provide an inheritance tend to have better health. Second, financial resources could be used to purchase inputs to health. Third, bequests may signal a stronger interest in one's child. This reminder to the child could improve their emotional well-being. On average, the positive correlation suggests merely correlation. However, among subsets of the population, particularly men and those expecting to receive an inheritance, there is a causal relationship likely driven by the third mechanism.

Suggested Citation

  • Katherine Grace Carman, 2013. "Inheritances, Intergenerational Transfers, and the Accumulation of Health," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 451-455, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:103:y:2013:i:3:p:451-55 Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.103.3.451
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Andrew M. Jones & Stefanie Schurer, 2011. "How does heterogeneity shape the socioeconomic gradient in health satisfaction?," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(4), pages 549-579, June.
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    3. Beomsoo Kim & Christopher J. Ruhm, 2012. "Inheritances, health and death," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(2), pages 127-144, February.
    4. Meer, Jonathan & Miller, Douglas L. & Rosen, Harvey S., 2003. "Exploring the health-wealth nexus," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 713-730, September.
    5. B. Douglas Bernheim & Sergei Severinov, 2003. "Bequests as Signals: An Explanation for the Equal Division Puzzle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(4), pages 733-764, August.
    6. Das, Marcel & van Soest, Arthur, 1997. "Expected and realized income changes: Evidence from the Dutch socio-economic panel," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, pages 137-154.
    7. Ada Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Paul Frijters, 2004. "How Important is Methodology for the estimates of the determinants of Happiness?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 641-659, July.
    8. James P. Smith, 1999. "Healthy Bodies and Thick Wallets: The Dual Relation between Health and Economic Status," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 145-166, Spring.
    9. Gregori Baetschmann & Kevin E. Staub & Rainer Winkelmann, 2011. "Reconsidering the analysis of longitudinal happiness data - with an application to the effect of unemployment," ECON - Working Papers 004, Department of Economics - University of Zurich, revised Jun 2011.
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    Cited by:

    1. van Kippersluis, Hans & Galama, Titus J., 2014. "Wealth and health behavior: Testing the concept of a health cost," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 197-220.
    2. repec:spr:jopoec:v:30:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s00148-017-0651-2 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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