IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/oup/restud/v74y2007i1p207-235.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

To Leave or Not to Leave: The Distribution of Bequest Motives

Author

Listed:
  • Wojciech Kopczuk
  • Joseph P. Lupton

Abstract

We examine the effect of observed and unobserved heterogeneity in the desire to die with positive net worth. Using a structural life-cycle model nested in a switching regression with unknown sample separation, we find that roughly three-fourths of the elderly single population has abequest motive. Both the presence and the magnitude of the bequest motive are statistically and economically significant. On average, households with a bequest motive spend about 25% less on consumption expenditures. We conclude that, among the elderly single households in our sample, about four-fifths of their net wealth will be bequeathed and approximately half of this is due to a bequest motive. Copyright 2007, Wiley-Blackwell.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:74:y:2007:i:1:p:207-235
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1467-937X.2007.00419.x
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Bernheim, B. Douglas & Lemke, Robert J. & Scholz, John Karl, 2004. "Do estate and gift taxes affect the timing of private transfers?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(12), pages 2617-2634, December.
    2. Christopher D Carroll, 1997. "Why Do the Rich Save So Much?," Economics Working Paper Archive 388, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
    3. 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.
    4. Hubbard, R Glenn & Skinner, Jonathan & Zeldes, Stephen P, 1995. "Precautionary Saving and Social Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(2), pages 360-399, April.
    5. Kuehlwein, Michael, 1993. "Life-Cycle and Altruistic Theories of Saving with Lifetime Uncertainty," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(1), pages 38-47, February.
    6. Angus Deaton, 2003. "Health, Inequality, and Economic Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(1), pages 113-158, March.
    7. 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.
    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 706-732, August.
    9. Hurd, Michael D, 1989. "Mortality Risk and Bequests," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(4), pages 779-813, July.
    10. 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.
    11. Bernheim, B Douglas & Shleifer, Andrei & Summers, Lawrence H, 1986. "The Strategic Bequest Motive," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(3), pages 151-182, July.
    12. B. Douglas Bernheim & Jonathan Skinner & Steven Weinberg, 2001. "What Accounts for the Variation in Retirement Wealth among U.S. Households?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 832-857, September.
    13. Davidson, Russell & MacKinnon, James G., 1993. "Estimation and Inference in Econometrics," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195060119.
    14. 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.
    15. F. Thomas Juster & James P. Smith, 2004. "Improving the Quality of Economic Data: Lessons from the HRS and AHEAD," Labor and Demography 0402010, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Michael G. Palumbo, 1999. "Uncertain Medical Expenses and Precautionary Saving Near the End of the Life Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(2), pages 395-421.
    17. Wilhelm, Mark O, 1996. "Bequest Behavior and the Effect of Heirs' Earnings: Testing the Altruistic Model of Bequests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 874-892, September.
    18. Laitner, John & Ohlsson, Henry, 2001. "Bequest motives: a comparison of Sweden and the United States," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 205-236, January.
    19. 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.
    20. F. Thomas Juster & Joseph P. Lupton & James P. Smith & Frank Stafford, 2006. "The Decline in Household Saving and the Wealth Effect," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(1), pages 20-27, February.
    21. McGarry, Kathleen, 1999. "Inter vivos transfers and intended bequests," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(3), pages 321-351, September.
    22. Wojciech Kopczuk, 2003. "The Trick Is to Live: Is the Estate Tax Social Security for the Rich?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(6), pages 1318-1341, December.
    23. Hurd, Michael D, 1987. "Savings of the Elderly and Desired Bequests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 298-312, June.
    24. Page, Benjamin R., 2003. "Bequest taxes, inter vivos gifts, and the bequest motive," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(5-6), pages 1219-1229, May.
    25. Menahem E. Yaari, 1965. "Uncertain Lifetime, Life Insurance, and the Theory of the Consumer," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 32(2), pages 137-150.
    26. Karen E. Dynan & Jonathan Skinner & Stephen P. Zeldes, 2004. "Do the Rich Save More?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 397-444, April.
    27. Poterba, James, 2001. "Estate and gift taxes and incentives for inter vivos giving in the US," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 237-264, January.
    28. Karen E. Dynan & Jonathan Skinner & Stephen P. Zeldes, 2002. "The Importance of Bequests and Life-Cycle Saving in Capital Accumulation: A New Answer," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 274-278, May.
    29. 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.
    30. Michael D. Hurd & B. Gabriela Mundaca, 1989. "The Importance of Gifts and Inheritances Among the Affluent," NBER Chapters, in: The Measurement of Saving, Investment, and Wealth, pages 737-764, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    31. James P. Smith, 1999. "Healthy Bodies and Thick Wallets: The Dual Relation between Health and Economic Status," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 145-166, Spring.
    32. Venti, Steven F & Wise, David A, 1998. "The Cause of Wealth Dispersion at Retirement: Choice or Chance?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 185-191, May.
    33. Hurd, Michael D, 1990. "Research on the Elderly: Economic Status, Retirement, and Consumption and Saving," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 28(2), pages 565-637, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Marta Melguizo Garde, 2007. "La motivación de las transmisiones lucrativas entre generaciones de una familia: modelos teóricos y evidencia empírica," Hacienda Pública Española / Review of Public Economics, IEF, vol. 181(2), pages 81-118, June.
    2. Mauro Baranzini, 2005. "Modigliani's life-cycle theory of savings fifty years later," Banca Nazionale del Lavoro Quarterly Review, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, vol. 58(233-234), pages 109-172.
    3. Mauro Baranzini, 2005. "Modigliani's life-cycle theory of savings fifty years later," BNL Quarterly Review, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, vol. 58(233-234), pages 109-172.
    4. Arrondel, Luc & Masson, Andre, 2006. "Altruism, exchange or indirect reciprocity: what do the data on family transfers show?," Handbook on the Economics of Giving, Reciprocity and Altruism, in: S. Kolm & Jean Mercier Ythier (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Giving, Altruism and Reciprocity, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 14, pages 971-1053, Elsevier.
    5. John Ameriks & Andrew Caplin & Steven Laufer & Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh, 2007. "The Joy of Giving or Assisted Living? Using Strategic Surveys to Separate Bequest and Precautionary Motives," NBER Working Papers 13105, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Siha Lee & Kegon T. K. Tan, 2019. "Bequest Motives and the Social Security Notch," Working Papers 2019-061, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    7. repec:oup:ecpoli:v:20:y:2005:i:43:p:505-565 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. 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.
    9. Ernesto Villanueva, 2005. "Inter vivos transfers and bequests in three OECD countries," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 20(43), pages 505-565, July.
    10. Hugo Benitez-Silva, 2000. "A Dynamic Model of Labor Supply, Consumption/Saving, and Annuity Decisions under Uncertainty," Department of Economics Working Papers 00-06, Stony Brook University, Department of Economics.
    11. Rajnish Mehra & Facundo Piguillem & Edward C. Prescott, 2011. "Costly financial intermediation in neoclassical growth theory," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 2(1), pages 1-36, March.
    12. Altonji Joseph G & Villanueva Ernesto, 2007. "The Marginal Propensity to Spend on Adult Children," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-52, February.
    13. Katarina Nordblom & Henry Ohlsson, 2011. "Bequests, gifts, and education: links between intergenerational transfers," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 40(2), pages 343-358, April.
    14. Livio Di Matteo, 2016. "Wealth Distribution and the Canadian Middle Class: Historical Evidence and Policy Implications," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 42(2), pages 132-151, June.
    15. Jens Kvaerner, 2016. "What Can Shocks to Life Expectancy Reveal About Bequest Motives?," 2016 Meeting Papers 1381, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    16. Bernheim, B. Douglas, 2002. "Taxation and saving," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 18, pages 1173-1249, Elsevier.
    17. George Constantinides & John Donaldson & Rajnish Mehra, 2007. "Junior is rich: bequests as consumption," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 32(1), pages 125-155, July.
    18. Cagetti, Marco & De Nardi, Mariacristina, 2008. "Wealth Inequality: Data And Models," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(S2), pages 285-313, September.
    19. Rajnish Mehra & Facundo Piguillem & Edward C. Prescott, 2007. "Intermediated quantities and returns," Working Papers 655, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    20. Hugo Benitez-Silva, 2000. "A Joint Model of Labor Supply and Consumption Decisions Under Uncertainty," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0196, Econometric Society.
    21. Hugo Benítez-Silva, 2003. "The Annuity Puzzle Revisited," Working Papers wp055, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth

    Lists

    This item is featured on the following reading lists, Wikipedia, or ReplicationWiki pages:
    1. To Leave or Not to Leave: The Distribution of Bequest Motives (REStud 2007) in ReplicationWiki

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:74:y:2007:i:1:p:207-235. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press) The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask Oxford University Press to update the entry or send us the correct email address or (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.