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The impact of bequest motives on labor supply and retirement behavior in Japan: A theoretical and empirical analysis

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  • Horioka, Charles Yuji
  • Gahramanov, Emin
  • Hayat, Aziz
  • Tang, Xueli

Abstract

Do individuals who want to leave a bequest work more and retire later than other individuals? Does the reason for wanting to leave a bequest (altruism vs. exchange) matter? In this paper, we conduct a theoretical and empirical analysis of the impact of bequest motives on the labor supply and retirement behavior of households in Japan, and to the best of our knowledge, it is virtually the first paper to do so. We conduct an empirical analysis using micro data from a unique survey—the Preference Parameters Study of Osaka University—and show that respondents with an altruistic or strategic/exchange bequest motive work more at the intensive margin than those without any bequest motive but that respondents with a strategic or exchange bequest motive work less at the extensive margin (i.e., retire earlier) than those without any bequest motive. Our findings for the strategic or exchange motive suggest that respondents with such a motive tend to work more than others before they retire so that they can earn more, leave a larger bequest to their children, and elicit more care from them but that they tend to retire earlier than others so that they can start receiving care for themselves and their spouses from their children sooner. Our findings have important policy implications because they imply that inheritance taxes may affect people's labor supply and retirement behavior by influencing the strength of their bequest motives and that these effects may differ by the type of bequest motive.

Suggested Citation

  • Horioka, Charles Yuji & Gahramanov, Emin & Hayat, Aziz & Tang, Xueli, 2021. "The impact of bequest motives on labor supply and retirement behavior in Japan: A theoretical and empirical analysis," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 62(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jjieco:v:62:y:2021:i:c:s0889158321000459
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jjie.2021.101166
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