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An Analysis of Fiscal Policy Under Operative and Inoperative Bequest Motives

  • Andrew B. Abel

This paper presents a general equilibrium model with logarithmic preferences and technology. If the non-negativity constraint on bequests is strictly binding, then the bequest motive is characterized as inoperative. After determining the conditions for operative and inoperative bequest motives, the paper examines the effect of pay-as-you-go social security on the stochastic evolution of the capital stock. If the non-negativity constraint on bequests is strictly binding, then an increase in social security reduces the unconditional long-run expected capital stock. If the social security taxes and benefits are large enough, then the non-negativity constraint ceases to bind, and further increases in social security have no effect. This paper extends previous analyses by examining bequest behavior outside of the steady state and by allowing a non-degenerate cross-sectional distribution in the holding of capital.

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Paper provided by Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research in its series Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers with number 10-87.

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Handle: RePEc:fth:pennfi:10-87
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  1. Andrew B. Abel, 1988. "Operative Gift and Bequest Motives," NBER Working Papers 2331, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Robert B. Barsky & N. Gregory Mankiw & Stephen P. Zeldes, 1987. "Ricardian Consumers With Keynesian Propensities," NBER Working Papers 1400, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Martin Feldstein, 1986. "The Effects of Fiscal Policies When Incomes are Uncertain: A Contradiction to Ricardian Equivalence," NBER Working Papers 2062, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Barro, Robert J., 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Scholarly Articles 3451399, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Drazen, Allan, 1978. "Government Debt, Human Capital, and Bequests in a Life-Cycle Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(3), pages 505-16, June.
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