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Operative Gift and Bequest Motives

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  • Andrew B. Abel

Abstract

The Ricardian Equivalence Theorem, which is the proposition that changes in the timing of lump-sum taxes have no effect on consumption or capital accumulation, depends on the existence of operative altruistic motives for intergenerational transfers. These transfers can be bequests from parents to children or gifts from children to parents. In order for the Ricardian Equivalence Theorem to hold, one of these transfer motives must be operative in the sense that the level of the transfer is not determined by a corner solution resulting from a binding non-negativity constraint. This paper derives conditions that determine whether the bequest motive will be operative, the gift motive will be operative, or neither motive will be operative in a model in which consumers are altruistic toward their parents and their children.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew B. Abel, "undated". "Operative Gift and Bequest Motives," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 9-87, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:fth:pennfi:9-87
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    1. Burbidge, John B, 1983. "Government Debt in an Overlapping-Generations Model with Bequests and Gifts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(1), pages 222-227, March.
    2. Kimball, Miles S., 1987. "Making sense of two-sided altruism," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 301-326, September.
    3. Fischer, Stanley, 1973. "A Life Cycle Model of Life Insurance Purchases," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(1), pages 132-152, February.
    4. Abel, Andrew B, 1985. "Precautionary Saving and Accidental Bequests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 777-791, September.
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