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Post Mortem Reputation, Compensatory Gifts and Equal Bequests

Author

Listed:
  • Lundholm, Michael

    () (Department of Economics)

  • Ohlsson, Henry

    () (Department of Economics)

Abstract

The empirical evidence suggests that parents use inter vivos gifts (i.e., transfers of tangible and financial property) to compensate less well off children whereas post mortem bequests are divided equally among siblings. We study a theoretical model assuming, first, that the amounts given is private information, only known to the donor and the donee, while the amounts bequeathed is public information. Second, we assume that parents care about the reputation that their bequest behavior will leave them after their death. More specifically, this reputation is deteriorating in the difference in amounts inherited. We show that, given optimal choice of altruistic parents is compensatory gifts and equal bequests.

Suggested Citation

  • Lundholm, Michael & Ohlsson, Henry, 1999. "Post Mortem Reputation, Compensatory Gifts and Equal Bequests," Working Paper Series 1999:3, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:uunewp:1999_003
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Cremer, Helmuth & Pestieau, Pierre, 1996. "Bequests as a Heir "Discipline Device."," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 9(4), pages 405-414, November.
    2. Tomes, Nigel, 1981. "The Family, Inheritance, and the Intergenerational Transmission of Inequality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 928-958, October.
    3. Stark, Oded, 1998. "Equal bequests and parental altruism: compatibility or orthogonality?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 167-171, August.
    4. Laitner, John, 1993. "Intergenerational and interhousehold economic links," Handbook of Population and Family Economics,in: M. R. Rosenzweig & Stark, O. (ed.), Handbook of Population and Family Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 5, pages 189-238 Elsevier.
    5. Wilhelm, Mark O, 1996. "Bequest Behavior and the Effect of Heirs' Earnings: Testing the Altruistic Model of Bequests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 874-892, September.
    6. 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.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    altruism; bequests; inheritances; gifts; equal division; post mortem reputation; social norm; information;

    JEL classification:

    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers

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