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Can the Life Insurance Market Provide Evidence for a Bequest Motive?

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  • Joachim Inkmann
  • Alexander Michaelides

Abstract

Using U.K. microeconomic data, we analyze the empirical determinants of participation in the life insurance market. We find that term insurance demand is positively correlated with measures of bequest motives like being married, having children and/or subjective measures of strong bequest motives. We then show that a life-cycle model of life insurance demand, saving and portfolio choice can rationalize quantitatively the data in the presence of a bequest motive. These findings provide evidence supporting the presence of a bequest motive.
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Suggested Citation

  • Joachim Inkmann & Alexander Michaelides, 2012. "Can the Life Insurance Market Provide Evidence for a Bequest Motive?," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 79(3), pages 671-695, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jrinsu:v:79:y:2012:i:3:p:671-695
    DOI: j.1539-6975.2011.01455.x
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    5. Wojciech Kopczuk & Joseph P. Lupton, 2007. "To Leave or Not to Leave: The Distribution of Bequest Motives," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(1), pages 207-235.
    6. Michael Haliassos & Alexander Michaelides, 2003. "Portfolio Choice and Liquidity Constraints," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(1), pages 143-177, February.
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    8. Bernheim, B Douglas, 1991. "How Strong Are Bequest Motives? Evidence Based on Estimates of the Demand for Life Insurance and Annuities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 899-927, October.
    9. Mariacristina De Nardi, 2004. "Wealth Inequality and Intergenerational Links," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(3), pages 743-768.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ralph S.J. Koijen & Stijn Nieuwerburgh & Motohiro Yogo, 2016. "Health and Mortality Delta: Assessing the Welfare Cost of Household Insurance Choice," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 71(2), pages 957-1010, April.
    2. Spaenjers, Christophe & Spira, Sven Michael, 2015. "Subjective life horizon and portfolio choice," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 94-106.
    3. Thomas F. Crossley & Cormac O'Dea & Richard Blundell & Rowena Crawford & Eric French & Gemma Tetlow, 2016. "Comparing Retirement Wealth Trajectories on Both Sides of the Pond," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 37, pages 105-130, March.
    4. Arun, Thankom & Bendig, Mirko & Arun, Shoba, 2012. "Bequest Motives and Determinants of Micro Life Insurance in Sri Lanka," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(8), pages 1700-1711.
    5. Mariacristina De Nardi & Eric French & John Bailey Jones, 2016. "Savings After Retirement: A Survey," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 8(1), pages 177-204, October.
    6. Wei-Ting Pan, 2016. "The Impact of Mandatory Savings on Life Cycle Consumption and Portfolio Choice," PhD Thesis, Finance Discipline Group, UTS Business School, University of Technology, Sydney, number 32.
    7. Harris, Timothy & Yelowitz, Aaron, 2015. "Racial Disparities in Life Insurance Coverage," MPRA Paper 64005, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Li Donni, P., 2010. "Risk Preference Heterogeneity And Multiple Demand For Insurance," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 10/17, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    9. Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh & Motohiro Yogo & Ralph S.J. Koijen, 2009. "Optimal Health and Longevity Insurance," 2009 Meeting Papers 185, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    10. Jens Kvaerner, 2016. "What Can Shocks to Life Expectancy Reveal About Bequest Motives?," 2016 Meeting Papers 1381, Society for Economic Dynamics.

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