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The Carnegie Conjecture: Some Empirical Evidence

  • Holtz-Eakin, Douglas
  • Joulfaian, David
  • Rosen, Harvey S

This paper examines tax-return-generated data on the labor force behavior of people before and after they receive inheritances. The results are consistent with Andrew Carnegie's century-old assertion that large inheritances decrease a person's labor-force participation. For example, a single person who receives an inheritance of about $150,000 is roughly four times more likely to leave the labor force than a person with an inheritance below Z,000. Additional, albeit weaker, evidence suggests that large inheritances depress labor supply, even when participation is unaltered. Copyright 1993, the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 108 (1993)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 413-35

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:qjecon:v:108:y:1993:i:2:p:413-35
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  1. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
  2. Shleifer, Andrei & Summers, Lawrence H. & Bernheim, B. Douglas, 1986. "The Strategic Bequest Motive," Scholarly Articles 3721794, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Joulfaian, D. & Wilheim, M.O., 1992. "Inheritance and Labor Supply," Papers 6-92-2, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  4. B. Douglas Bernheim, 1987. "Ricardian Equivalence: An Evaluation of Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 2330, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Duncan, Greg J & Hill, Daniel H, 1989. "Assessing the Quality of Household Panel Data: The Case of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 7(4), pages 441-52, October.
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