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

  • Joachim Inkmann
  • Alexander Michaelides

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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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1539-6975.2011.01455.x
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Article provided by The American Risk and Insurance Association in its journal The Journal of Risk and Insurance.

Volume (Year): 79 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 (09)
Pages: 671-695

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jrinsu:v:79:y:2012:i:3:p:671-695
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  1. Duffie, Darrell & Singleton, Kenneth J, 1993. "Simulated Moments Estimation of Markov Models of Asset Prices," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(4), pages 929-52, July.
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  3. Mariacristina De Nardi & Eric French & John Bailey Jones, 2009. "Why do the Elderly Save? The Role of Medical Expenses," NBER Working Papers 15149, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  6. Hurd, Michael D, 1987. "Savings of the Elderly and Desired Bequests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 298-312, June.
  7. 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.
  8. Kotlikoff, Laurence J & Summers, Lawrence H, 1981. "The Role of Intergenerational Transfers in Aggregate Capital Accumulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 706-32, August.
  9. B. Douglas Bernheim & Lorenzo Forni & Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 2003. "The Mismatch Between Life Insurance Holdings and Financial Vulnerabilities: Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 354-365, March.
  10. Sule Alan, 2005. "Entry Costs and Stock Market Participation Over the Life Cycle," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 126, McMaster University.
  11. Mariacristina De Nardi, 2002. "Wealth inequality and intergenerational links," Staff Report 314, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  12. 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.
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