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The effect of changes in Social Security on bequests


  • Michael Hurd


The net effect on intergenerational transfers of an increase in Social Security benefits will depend on how much of the increase is consumed and how much bequeathed. I show analytically that the marginal propensity to consume an increase in Social Security benefits is indeterminate: it could range from zero to 1.0 or even larger. At one extreme bequests would fully offset the increase in benefits; at the other bequests would fall. According to simulations based on an estimated model of life-cycle behavior, consumption increases by slightly more than the increase in Social Security benefits, causing bequests to fall. That is, bequests do no offset at all an increase in transfers from the younger generation to the older. Copyright Springer-Verlag 1993

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Hurd, 1993. "The effect of changes in Social Security on bequests," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 58(1), pages 157-176, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:jeczfn:v:58:y:1993:i:1:p:157-176
    DOI: 10.1007/BF03052296

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Michael D. Hurd, 1987. "The Marginal Value of Social Security," NBER Working Papers 2411, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Menchik, Paul L & David, Martin, 1983. "Income Distribution, Lifetime Savings, and Bequests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 672-690, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Michael D. Hurd & James P. Smith, 2001. "Anticipated and Actual Bequests," NBER Chapters,in: Themes in the Economics of Aging, pages 357-392 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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