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Long-Run Saving Dynamics: Evidence from Unexpected Inheritances

Author

Listed:
  • Druedahl, Jeppe

    () (University of Copenhagen, Department of Economics)

  • Martinello, Alessandro

    () (Department of Economics, Lund University)

Abstract

Long-run saving dynamics are a crucial component of consumption-saving behavior. This paper makes two contributions to the consumption literature. First, we exploit inheritance episodes to provide novel causal evidence on the long-run effects of a large financial windfall on saving behavior. For identification, we combine a longitudinal panel of administrative wealth reports with variation in the timing of sudden, unexpected parental deaths. We show that after inheritance net worth converges towards the path established before parental death, with only a third of the initial windfall remaining after a decade. These dynamics are qualitatively consistent with convergence to a buffer-stock target. Second, we analyze our findings through the lens of a generalized consumption-saving framework, and show that life-cycle consumption models can replicate this behavior, but only if the precautionary saving motive is stronger than usually assumed. This result also holds for two-asset models, which imply a high marginal propensity to consume.

Suggested Citation

  • Druedahl, Jeppe & Martinello, Alessandro, 2016. "Long-Run Saving Dynamics: Evidence from Unexpected Inheritances," Working Papers 2016:7, Lund University, Department of Economics, revised 08 May 2018.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:lunewp:2016_007
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Cited by:

    1. Korom, Philipp, 2016. "Inherited advantage: The importance of inheritance for private wealth accumulation in Europe," MPIfG Discussion Paper 16/11, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
    2. Elinder, Mikael & Erixson, Oscar & Waldenström, Daniel, 2018. "Inheritance and wealth inequality: Evidence from population registers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 165(C), pages 17-30.
    3. Andreas Fagereng & Martin B. Holm & Gisle J. Natvik, 2016. "MPC heterogeneity and household balance sheets," Discussion Papers 852, Statistics Norway, Research Department.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Inheritance; saving dynamics; consumption; buffer-stock; structural; causal; convergence; precautionary; retirement;

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • G40 - Financial Economics - - Behavioral Finance - - - General

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