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The intra-family division of bequests and bequest motives: empirical evidence from a survey on Japanese households

Author

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  • Junya Hamaaki

    () (Economic and Social Research Institute, Cabinet Office
    Hosei University)

  • Masahiro Hori

    (Economic and Social Research Institute, Cabinet Office
    Hitotsubashi University)

  • Keiko Murata

    (Economic and Social Research Institute, Cabinet Office
    Tokyo Metropolitan University)

Abstract

Abstract The division of bequests among family members differs sharply between Japan and the USA. Whereas in the USA, bequests tend to be divided equally among decedents’ children, they tend to be divided unequally in Japan. We start by arguing that certain legal and institutional aspects, which are not present in Japan, lead to equal bequests in the USA. We then investigate unequal patterns of bequest division in Japan to understand parental bequest motives. Utilizing institutional characteristics that are specific to Japan allows us to examine parental motives. We find that while the patterns of bequest division look generally consistent with most of the parental bequest motives suggested in the literature, such as the dynastic and the strategic motive, parents do not necessarily bequeath more to economically disadvantaged children.

Suggested Citation

  • Junya Hamaaki & Masahiro Hori & Keiko Murata, 2019. "The intra-family division of bequests and bequest motives: empirical evidence from a survey on Japanese households," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 32(1), pages 309-346, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:32:y:2019:i:1:d:10.1007_s00148-018-0712-1
    DOI: 10.1007/s00148-018-0712-1
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    Cited by:

    1. Yoko Niimi & Charles Yuji Horioka, 2016. "The Impact of Intergenerational Transfers on Household Wealth Inequality in Japan and the United States," NBER Working Papers 22687, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. repec:eee:japwor:v:49:y:2019:i:c:p:176-186 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Bequests; Dynastic motive; Altruism; Strategic motive; Japan;

    JEL classification:

    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers

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