IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

New evidence on altruism: a study of TIAA-CREF retirees

  • John Laitner
  • F. Thomas Juster

Economists make extensive use of two separate descriptions of private saving behavior: the life-cycle (or overlapping generations) model, and models with intergenerational altruism. Analysis of the two frameworks is quite different, as are many of the long-run policy implications. This paper looks at evidence, at the microeconomic level, for and against altruism as a principal determinant of private wealth holdings. The database is new: this paper uses a sample of annuitants in the TIAA-CREF retirement system. We employ a combination of qualitative and quantitative information. Results are: (i) one-half or more of the sample appears altruistically motivated. And (ii) saving for intentional bequests—amounting to about $350,000–$400,000 per family (at retirement) for about half the sample—seems to account for about 25 percent of average lifetime net worth for the whole group. If the definition of parental transfers is broadened to include spending on higher education for children and gifts (rather than just estates), the contribution of intentional transfers to lifetime average net worth climbs to 35–40 percent—in our sample.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.minneapolisfed.org/research/common/pub_detail.cfm?pb_autonum_id=84
Download Restriction: no

File URL: http://www.minneapolisfed.org/research/DP/DP86.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its series Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics with number 86.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: 1993
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmem:86
Contact details of provider: Postal: 90 Hennepin Avenue, P.O. Box 291, Minneapolis, MN 55480-0291
Phone: (612) 204-5000
Web page: http://minneapolisfed.org/

More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Web: http://www.minneapolisfed.org/pubs/ Email:


References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Dooley, Martin D & Gottschalk, Peter, 1984. "Earnings Inequality among Males in the United States: Trends and the Effect of Labor Force Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(1), pages 59-89, February.
  2. Laitner, John, 1991. "Modeling Marital Connections among Family Lines," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(6), pages 1123-41, December.
  3. Cox, Donald, 1987. "Motives for Private Income Transfers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 508-46, June.
  4. John M. Abowd & David Card, 1986. "On the Covariance Structure of Earnings and Hours Changes," NBER Working Papers 1832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. 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.
  6. Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1987. "Intergenerational Transfers and Savings," NBER Working Papers 2237, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Hurd, Michael D, 1989. "Mortality Risk and Bequests," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(4), pages 779-813, July.
  8. Tomes, Nigel, 1981. "The Family, Inheritance, and the Intergenerational Transmission of Inequality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 928-58, October.
  9. Modigliani, Franco, 1985. "Life Cycle, Individual Thrift and the Wealth of Nations," Nobel Prize in Economics documents 1985-1, Nobel Prize Committee.
  10. Lee, Ronald D & Lapkoff, Shelley, 1988. "Intergenerational Flows of Time and Goods: Consequences of Slowing Population Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(3), pages 618-51, June.
  11. Altonji, Joseph G & Hayashi, Fumio & Kotlikoff, Laurence J, 1992. "Is the Extended Family Altruistically Linked? Direct Tests Using Micro Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1177-98, December.
  12. White, Halbert, 1982. "Instrumental Variables Regression with Independent Observations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(2), pages 483-99, March.
  13. Mirer, Thad W, 1979. "The Wealth-Age Relation among the Aged," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(3), pages 435-43, June.
  14. Barro, Robert J., 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Scholarly Articles 3451399, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  15. Avery, Robert B & Kennickell, Arthur B, 1991. "Household Saving in the U.S," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 37(4), pages 409-32, December.
  16. Laitner, John, 1988. "Bequests, Gifts, and Social Security," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(2), pages 275-99, April.
  17. Laitner, John, 1992. "Random earnings differences, lifetime liquidity constraints, and altruistic intergenerational transfers," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 135-170, December.
  18. Andrew B. Abel, 1986. "Bequests and Social Security With Uncertain Lifetimes," NBER Working Papers 1372, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Loury, Glenn C, 1981. "Intergenerational Transfers and the Distribution of Earnings," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(4), pages 843-67, June.
  20. Zvi Bodie & John B. Shoven & David A. Wise, 1988. "Pensions in the U.S. Economy," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bodi88-1, December.
  21. 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 706-32, August.
  22. Benjamin M. Friedman & Mark Warshawsky, 1988. "Annuity Prices and Saving Behavior in the United States," NBER Chapters, in: Pensions in the U.S. Economy, pages 53-84 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," NBER Working Papers 0042, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Menchik, Paul L & David, Martin, 1983. "Income Distribution, Lifetime Savings, and Bequests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(4), pages 672-90, September.
  25. Benjamin M. Friedman & Mark Warshawsky, 1985. "Annuity Prices and Saving Behavior in the United States," NBER Working Papers 1683, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  26. Hurd, Michael D, 1987. "Savings of the Elderly and Desired Bequests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 298-312, June.
  27. Blinder, Alan S, 1975. "Distribution Effects and the Aggregate Consumption Function," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(3), pages 447-75, June.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedmem:86. 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: (Janelle Ruswick)

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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.