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Wealth Inequality and Altruistic Bequests

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  • John Laitner

Abstract

This paper examines the role of bequests and inter vivos gifts in the U.S. economy, considering their importance in determining (i) the economy’s aggregate capital stock, (ii) the distribution of private net worth, and (iii) public policy outcomes and options. It focuses on several recent calibrated simulations.
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Suggested Citation

  • John Laitner, 2002. "Wealth Inequality and Altruistic Bequests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 270-273, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:92:y:2002:i:2:p:270-273
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/000282802320189384
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    1. 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.
    2. Modigliani, Franco, 1988. "The Role of Intergenerational Transfers and Life Cycle Saving in the Accumulation of Wealth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 15-40, Spring.
    3. Chamley, Christophe, 1986. "Optimal Taxation of Capital Income in General Equilibrium with Infinite Lives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 607-622, May.
    4. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
    5. Altonji, Joseph G & Hayashi, Fumio & Kotlikoff, Laurence J, 1997. "Parental Altruism and Inter Vivos Transfers: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(6), pages 1121-1166, December.
    6. Gokhale, Jagadeesh & Kotlikoff, Laurence J. & Sefton, James & Weale, Martin, 2001. "Simulating the transmission of wealth inequality via bequests," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 93-128, January.
    7. John Laitner, 2001. "Wealth Accumulation in the U.S.: Do Inheritances and Bequests Play a Significant Role?," Working Papers wp019, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    8. David Altig, 2001. "Simulating Fundamental Tax Reform in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(3), pages 574-595, June.
    9. Wolff, Edward N, 1996. "International Comparisons of Wealth Inequality," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 42(4), pages 433-451, December.
    10. Laitner, John & Juster, F Thomas, 1996. "New Evidence on Altruism: A Study of TIAA-CREF Retirees," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 893-908, September.
    11. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1990. "Supply-Side Economics: An Analytical Review," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(2), pages 293-316, April.
    12. Laitner, John, 1993. "Intergenerational and interhousehold economic links," Handbook of Population and Family Economics,in: M. R. Rosenzweig & Stark, O. (ed.), Handbook of Population and Family Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 5, pages 189-238 Elsevier.
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    Cited by:

    1. Francisco Gomes & Alexander Michaelides, 2005. "Optimal Life-Cycle Asset Allocation: Understanding the Empirical Evidence," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 60(2), pages 869-904, April.
    2. John Laitner, 2003. "Labor Supply Responses to Social Security," Working Papers wp050, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    3. Alonso-Carrera, Jaime & Caballé, Jordi & Raurich, Xavier, 2012. "Fiscal policy, composition of intergenerational transfers, and income distribution," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 62-84.
    4. Frank Cowell & Brian Nolan & Javier Olivera & Philippe Van Kerm, 2017. "Wealth, Top Incomes and Inequality," LWS Working papers 24, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    5. Jay Zagorsky, 2013. "Do People Save or Spend Their Inheritances? Understanding What Happens to Inherited Wealth," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 34(1), pages 64-76, March.
    6. George A. Akerlof, 2007. "The Missing Motivation in Macroeconomics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 5-36, March.
    7. Wozny Lukasz & Growiec Jakub, 2012. "Intergenerational Interactions in Human Capital Accumulation," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 1-47, June.
    8. J. Benjamin & P. Chinloy, 2008. "Home Equity, Household Savings and Consumption," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 37(1), pages 21-32, July.
    9. Christopher House & John Laitner & Dmitriy Stolyarov, 2008. "Valuing Lost Home Production Of Dual Earner Couples," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(2), pages 701-736, May.
    10. John Laitner, 2002. "Transition Paths and Social Security Reform," Working Papers wp025, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    11. John Laitner & Amanda Sonnega, 2012. "Motives for Bequests within the Middle Class," Working Papers wp275, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
    12. Wiafe, Osei K. & Basu, Anup K. & Chen, John, 2017. "The effects of age pension on retirement drawdown choices," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 20(C), pages 81-87.
    13. Gomes, Francisco J & Michaelides, Alexander & Polkovnichenko, Valery, 2005. "Wealth Accumulation and Portfolio Choice with Taxable and Tax-Deferred Accounts," CEPR Discussion Papers 4852, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    14. Francis, Johanna L., 2009. "Wealth and the capitalist spirit," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 394-408, September.
    15. Balbus, Łukasz & Reffett, Kevin & Woźny, Łukasz, 2013. "A constructive geometrical approach to the uniqueness of Markov stationary equilibrium in stochastic games of intergenerational altruism," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 1019-1039.
    16. Schendel, Lorenz S., 2014. "Consumption-investment problems with stochastic mortality risk," SAFE Working Paper Series 43, Research Center SAFE - Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe, Goethe University Frankfurt.
    17. McDonald, Stuart & Zhang, Jie, 2012. "Income Inequality And Economic Growth With Altruistic Bequests And Human Capital Investment," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(S3), pages 331-354, November.
    18. Alan G. Isaac, 2014. "The Intergenerational Propagation of Wealth Inequality," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(4), pages 571-584, November.
    19. John Laitner, 2004. "Precautionary Saving Over the Lifecycle," Working Papers wp083, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.

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