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Bequest Motives: a Comparison of Sweden and the United States

  • Laitner, J.
  • Ohlsson, H.

This paper reviews four well-known theoretical models of private bequest behavior, notes their differing implications for public policy, and discusses a way of empirically discriminating among them. Then it implements the test with micro data from Sweden (LLS) and the U.S. (PSID). The so-called altruistic (or dynastic) model, which, among the four models, has perhaos the most wide-ranging implications for policy, receives come, though limited, support in the LLS, but not the PSID.

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Paper provided by Uppsala - Working Paper Series in its series Papers with number 1998:16.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: 1998
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fth:uppaal:1998:16
Phone: + 46 18 471 25 00
Fax: + 46 18 471 14 78
Web page:

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  1. 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.
  2. Stefan Hochguertal & Henry Ohlsson, 2000. "Inter Vivos Gifts: Compensatory or Equal Sharing?," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0699, Econometric Society.
  3. Lindh, Thomas & Ohlsson, Henry, 1996. "Self-Employment and Windfall Gains: Evidence from the Swedish Lottery," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(439), pages 1515-26, November.
  4. Benjamin M. Friedman & Mark Warshawsky, 1985. "The Cost of Annuities: Implications for Saving Behavior and Bequests," NBER Working Papers 1682, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Chamley, Christophe, 1986. "Optimal Taxation of Capital Income in General Equilibrium with Infinite Lives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 607-22, May.
  6. Becker, Gary S & Tomes, Nigel, 1979. "An Equilibrium Theory of the Distribution of Income and Intergenerational Mobility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1153-89, December.
  7. Ahlroth, Sofia & Bjorklund, Anders & Forslund, Anders, 1997. "The Output of the Swedish Education Sector," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 43(1), pages 89-104, March.
  8. Cox, Donald, 1987. "Motives for Private Income Transfers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 508-46, June.
  9. McGarry, Kathleen, 1999. "Inter vivos transfers and intended bequests," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(3), pages 321-351, September.
  10. Joseph G. Altonji & Fumio Hayashi & Laurence Kotlikoff, . "Parental Altruism and Inter Vivos Transfers: Theory and Evidence," IPR working papers 95-22, Institute for Policy Resarch at Northwestern University.
  11. Barro, Robert J., 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Scholarly Articles 3451399, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  12. Stefan Hochguertel & Henry Ohlsson, 2007. "Compensatory Inter Vivos Gifts," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 07-074/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  13. Laitner, John & Juster, F Thomas, 1996. "New Evidence on Altruism: A Study of TIAA-CREF Retirees," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 893-908, September.
  14. Davies, James B, 1981. "Uncertain Lifetime, Consumption, and Dissaving in Retirement," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(3), pages 561-77, June.
  15. Douglas Holtz-Eakin & David Joulfaian & Harvey S. Rosen, 1993. "Sticking it Out: Entrepreneurial Survival and Liquidity Constraints," NBER Working Papers 4494, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Shleifer, Andrei & Summers, Lawrence H. & Bernheim, B. Douglas, 1986. "The Strategic Bequest Motive," Scholarly Articles 3721794, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  17. Blanchflower, D.G. & Oswald, A., 1991. "What Makes an Entrepreneur?," Economics Series Working Papers 99125, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  18. Hurd, Michael D, 1989. "Mortality Risk and Bequests," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(4), pages 779-813, July.
  19. Solon, Gary, 1992. "Intergenerational Income Mobility in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 393-408, June.
  20. Laitner, John, 1988. "Bequests, Gifts, and Social Security," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(2), pages 275-99, April.
  21. Cox, Donald & Rank, Mark R, 1992. "Inter-vivos Transfers and Intergenerational Exchange," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(2), pages 305-14, May.
  22. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:105:y:1990:i:1:p:135-54 is not listed on IDEAS
  23. 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.
  24. B. Douglas Bernheim & Kyle Bagwell, 1986. "Is Everything Neutral?," NBER Working Papers 2086, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. William G. Gale & John Karl Scholz, 1991. "Intergenerational Transfers and the Accumulation of Wealth," UCLA Economics Working Papers 624, UCLA Department of Economics.
  26. Douglas Holtz-Eakin & David Joulfaian & Harvey Rosen, 1992. "The Carnegie Conjecture: Some Empirical Evidence," Working Papers 682, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  27. 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.
  28. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Lawrence H. Summers, 1980. "The Role of Intergenerational Transfers in Aggregate Capital Accumulation," NBER Working Papers 0445, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," NBER Working Papers 0042, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. Bjorklund, Anders & Jantti, Markus, 1997. "Intergenerational Income Mobility in Sweden Compared to the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(5), pages 1009-18, December.
  31. Kurz, Mordecai, 1984. "Capital Accumulation and the Characteristics of Private Inter-Generational Transfers," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 51(201), pages 1-22, February.
  32. Ihori, Toshihiro, 1997. "Taxes on Capital Accumulation and Economic Growth," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 509-522, July.
  33. James Poterba, 1997. "The Estate Tax and After-Tax Investment Returns," NBER Working Papers 6337, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  34. 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.
  35. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-42, June.
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