IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Inheritances, Health and Death

  • Beomsoo Kim


    (Department of Economics, Korea University, Seoul, South Korea)

  • Christopher J. Ruhm


    (University of North Carolina Greensboro and National Bureau of Economic Research)

We examine how wealth shocks, in the form of inheritances, affect the mortality rates, health status and health behaviors of older adults, using data from eight waves of the Health and Retirement Survey (HRS). Our main finding is that bequests do not have substantial effects on health status, although some improvements in quality-of-life are possible. This absence occurs despite increases in out-of-pocket (OOP) spending on health care and in the utilization of medical services, especially discretionary and non-lifesaving types such as dental care. Nor can we find a convincing indication of changes in lifestyles that offset the benefits of increased medical care. Inheritances are associated with higher alcohol consumption, but with no change in smoking or exercise and a possible decrease in obesity.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Institute of Economic Research, Korea University in its series Discussion Paper Series with number 1001.

in new window

Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iek:wpaper:1001
Contact details of provider: Postal: 1-5-Ga, Anam-dong, Sung buk-ku, Seoul, 136-701
Phone: (82-2)3290-1633
Fax: (82-2) 928-4948
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Stephen E. Snyder & William N. Evans, 2006. "The Effect of Income on Mortality: Evidence from the Social Security Notch," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(3), pages 482-495, August.
  2. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:115:y:2000:i:2:p:617-650 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Gardner, Jonathan & Oswald, Andrew, 2004. "How is mortality affected by money, marriage, and stress?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(6), pages 1181-1207, November.
  4. Michaud, P.C. & van Soest, A.H.O., 2004. "Health and Wealth of Elderly Couples : Causality Tests Using Dynamic Panel Data Models," Discussion Paper 2004-81, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  5. Madden, David, 2008. "Sample selection versus two-part models revisited: The case of female smoking and drinking," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 300-307, March.
  6. Duan, Naihua, et al, 1983. "A Comparison of Alternative Models for the Demand for Medical Care," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 1(2), pages 115-26, April.
  7. Grossman, Michael, 1972. "On the Concept of Health Capital and the Demand for Health," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(2), pages 223-55, March-Apr.
  8. Hendrik Jürges, 2007. "True health vs response styles: exploring cross-country differences in self-reported health," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(2), pages 163-178.
  9. Anne Case, 2001. "Does Money Protect Health Status? Evidence from South African Pensions," NBER Working Papers 8495, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Anne Case & Darren Lubotsky & Christina Paxson, 2001. "Economic Status and Health in Childhood: The Origins of the Gradient," NBER Working Papers 8344, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Adams, Peter & Hurd, Michael D. & McFadden, Daniel & Merrill, Angela & Ribeiro, Tiago, 2003. "Healthy, wealthy, and wise? Tests for direct causal paths between health and socioeconomic status," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 112(1), pages 3-56, January.
  12. Ettner, Susan L., 1996. "New evidence on the relationship between income and health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 67-85, February.
  13. James P. Smith, 2005. "Unraveling the SES-Health Connection," Labor and Demography 0505018, EconWPA.
  14. Victor R. Fuchs, 1980. "Time Preference and Health: An Exploratory Study," NBER Working Papers 0539, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Meer, Jonathan & Miller, Douglas L. & Rosen, Harvey S., 2003. "Exploring the health-wealth nexus," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 713-730, September.
  16. Gardner, Jonathan & Oswald, Andrew J., 2007. "Money and mental wellbeing: A longitudinal study of medium-sized lottery wins," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 49-60, January.
  17. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2005. "Healthy living in hard times," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 341-363, March.
  18. James P. Smith, 1999. "Healthy Bodies and Thick Wallets: The Dual Relation between Health and Economic Status," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 145-166, Spring.
  19. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2006. "A Healthy Economy Can Break Your Heart," NBER Working Papers 12102, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Gerard J. van den Berg & Maarten Lindeboom & France Portrait, 2006. "Economic Conditions Early in Life and Individual Mortality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 290-302, March.
  21. Paul Frijters, 2005. "The causal effect of income on health: Evidence from German reunification," Paul Frijters Discussion Papers 2005-2, School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology.
  22. Christopher J. Ruhm, 1996. "Are Recessions Good For Your Health?," NBER Working Papers 5570, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iek:wpaper:1001. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Kim, Jisoo)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.