Successions et héritiers dans la société rurale du XIXème siècle : l'exemple des familles TRA de Loire Inférieure
Only few empirical studies of intergeneration transfers using historical data have considered the period when the State intervened relatively little in family life and when financial institutions were far less- developed than they are today. This paper uses historical data from the "3 000 familles" covering individuals in the Lower Loire departement in the 19th and early 20th century. These data allow us to confirm a number of theoretical predictions. In particular, we reveal a strong influence of past inheritances on individuals' future bequests. We also show that the amount bequeathed falls after the age of 66, as wealth is consumed. This could reflect either the financing of retirement, or transfers to children in return for care or other services. Last, we find that the amount transferred is higher when the number of children is smaller, providing evidence for the bequest motive in the 19th Century.
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