IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/esj/esridp/333.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Intra-Family Division of Bequests and Bequest Motives: Empirical Evidence from a Survey on Japanese Households

Author

Listed:
  • HAMAAKI Junya
  • HORI Masahiro
  • MURATA Keiko

Abstract

The division of bequests among family members differs sharply between Japan and the United States. Whereas in the United States, bequests tend to be divided equally among decedents’ children, they tend to be divided unequally in Japan. This paper first tries to answer why this is this case. We start by arguing that certain legal and institutional aspects that lead to equal bequests in the United States are not present in Japan. We then investigate patterns of bequest division in Japan to understand parental bequest motives. In particular, we compare the division of bequests in primary and secondary inheritances to examine parental motives and the role of traditional family values in Japan. While in the case of both “primary” and “secondary” inheritances (referring to inheritances where the first parent has died and inheritances in which the second parent has died, respectively) the patterns of bequest division in Japan look generally consistent with a variety of parental bequest motives proposed in the literature, the role of these motives, especially of the dynastic and strategic motives, is more prominent in primary inheritances, in which the surviving spouse has the opportunity to express his/her intentions. However, Japanese parents, contrary to predictions of the altruism model, appear not to bequeath more to economically disadvantaged children.

Suggested Citation

  • HAMAAKI Junya & HORI Masahiro & MURATA Keiko, 2016. "The Intra-Family Division of Bequests and Bequest Motives: Empirical Evidence from a Survey on Japanese Households," ESRI Discussion paper series 333, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
  • Handle: RePEc:esj:esridp:333
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.esri.go.jp/jp/archive/e_dis/e_dis333/e_dis333.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ohlsson, Henry, 2007. "The equal division puzzle – empirical evidence on intergenerational transfers in Sweden," Working Paper Series 2007:10, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    2. Becker, Gary S, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1063-1093, Nov.-Dec..
    3. Stefan Hochguertel & Henry Ohlsson, 2009. "Compensatory inter vivos gifts," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(6), pages 993-1023.
    4. Paul L. Menchik, 1980. "Primogeniture, Equal Sharing, and the U.S. Distribution of Wealth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 94(2), pages 299-316.
    5. McGarry, Kathleen, 2016. "Dynamic aspects of family transfers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 137(C), pages 1-13.
    6. Charles Yuji Horioka, 2002. "Are the Japanese Selfish, Altruistic or Dynastic?," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 53(1), pages 26-54.
    7. 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..
    8. Audrey Light & Kathleen McGarry, 2004. "Why Parents Play Favorites: Explanations for Unequal Bequests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1669-1681, December.
    9. Joulfaian, David, 2005. "Choosing between gifts and bequests: How taxes affect the timing of wealth transfers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(11-12), pages 2069-2091, December.
    10. 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.
    11. B. Douglas Bernheim & Sergei Severinov, 2003. "Bequests as Signals: An Explanation for the Equal Division Puzzle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(4), pages 733-764, August.
    12. Joulfaian, David, 2004. "Gift taxes and lifetime transfers: time series evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1917-1929, August.
    13. Dunn, Thomas A. & Phillips, John W., 1997. "The timing and division of parental transfers to children," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 135-137, February.
    14. repec:wly:iecrev:v:59:y:2018:i:1:p:113-136 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. McGarry, Kathleen, 2000. "Behavioral Responses to the Estate Tax: Inter vivos Giving," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 4), pages 913-32, December.
    16. Hori, Masahiro & Iwamoto, Koichiro & Niizeki, Takeshi & Hamaaki, Junya & Murata, Keiko, 2013. "The Second “Family and Lifestyle Survey”: Objectives, Features of the Survey, and Questionnaire," CIS Discussion paper series 607, Center for Intergenerational Studies, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    17. Jere R. Behrman & Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2004. "Parental Allocations to Children: New Evidence on Bequest Differences among Siblings," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 637-640, May.
    18. Cox, Donald & Rank, Mark R, 1992. "Inter-vivos Transfers and Intergenerational Exchange," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(2), pages 305-314, May.
    19. 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.
    20. Arrondel, L. & Masson, A. & Pestieau, P., 1996. "Bequest and inheritance: empirical issues and France-U.S. comparison," DELTA Working Papers 96-19, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
    21. Alessandro Cigno, 2006. "A constitutional theory of the family," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 19(2), pages 259-283, June.
    22. Chen, Zhiqi & Woolley, Frances, 2001. "A Cournot-Nash Model of Family Decision Making," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(474), pages 722-748, October.
    23. McGarry, Kathleen, 1999. "Inter vivos transfers and intended bequests," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(3), pages 321-351, September.
    24. Hori, Masahiro & Iwamoto, Koichiro & Hamaaki, Junya & Murata, Keiko, 2013. "Family and lifestyle survey: objectives, features of the 2011 survey, and questionnaire," CIS Discussion paper series 588, Center for Intergenerational Studies, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    25. Cigno, Alessandro, 1993. "Intergenerational transfers without altruism : Family, market and state," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 505-518, November.
    26. Joulfaian, David & McGarry, Kathleen, 2004. "Estate and Gift Tax Incentives and Inter Vivos Giving," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 57(2), pages 429-444, June.
    27. Cox, Donald, 1987. "Motives for Private Income Transfers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 508-546, June.
    28. Charles Horioka, 2014. "Are Americans and Indians more altruistic than the Japanese and Chinese? Evidence from a new international survey of bequest plans," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 411-437, September.
    29. Charles Yuji Horioka & Emin Gahramanov & Aziz Hayat & Xueli Tang, 2018. "Why Do Children Take Care Of Their Elderly Parents? Are The Japanese Any Different?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 59(1), pages 113-136, February.
    30. McGarry, Kathleen, 2000. "Behavioral Responses to the Estate Tax: Inter Vivos Giving," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 53(4), pages 913-932, December.
    31. 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.
    32. Edward C. Norton & Courtney Harold Van Houtven, 2006. "Inter-vivos Transfers and Exchange," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 73(1), pages 157-172, July.
    33. Meta Brown, 2006. "Informal Care and the Division of End-of-Life Transfers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(1).
    34. Amy Farmer & Andrew Horowitz, 2010. "Mobility, information, and bequest: The “other side” of the equal division puzzle," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 23(1), pages 121-138, January.
    35. Charlet Yuji Horioka, 2002. ""Are the Japanese Selfish, Altruistic, or Dynastic?" (in Japanese)," CIRJE J-Series CIRJE-J-70, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
    36. Yang-Ming Chang & Zijun Luo, 2015. "Endogenous division rules as a family constitution: strategic altruistic transfers and sibling competition," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 28(1), pages 173-194, January.
    37. McElroy, Marjorie B & Horney, Mary Jean, 1981. "Nash-Bargained Household Decisions: Toward a Generalization of the Theory of Demand," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 22(2), pages 333-349, June.
    38. Horioka, C.Y., 1991. "Saving in Japan," ISER Discussion Paper 0248, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Niimi, Yoko & Horioka, Charles Yuji, 2016. "The Impact of Intergenerational Transfers on Household Wealth Inequality in Japan and the United States," AGI Working Paper Series 2016-20, Asian Growth Research Institute.

    More about this item

    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

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    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:esj:esridp:333. 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: (KAWAMOTO Takuma) The email address of this maintainer does not seem to be valid anymore. Please ask KAWAMOTO Takuma to update the entry or send us the correct email address. General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/esrgvjp.html .

    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.