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Inheritances, Health and Death

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  • Beomsoo Kim

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

  • Christopher J. Ruhm

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

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Beomsoo Kim & Christopher J. Ruhm, 2010. "Inheritances, Health and Death," Discussion Paper Series 1001, Institute of Economic Research, Korea University.
  • Handle: RePEc:iek:wpaper:1001
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    File URL: http://econ.korea.ac.kr/~ri/WorkingPapers/w1001.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. John Gathergood & Eleonora Fichera, "undated". "House Prices, Home Equity and Health," Discussion Papers 12/07, University of Nottingham, School of Economics.
    2. Schnalzenberger, Mario, 2016. "Causal effect of income on health: Investigating two closely related policy reforms in Austria," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 7(C), pages 6-16.
    3. repec:bla:ecinqu:v:55:y:2017:i:4:p:1986-2007 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Benedicte Apouey & Andrew E. Clark, 2015. "Winning Big but Feeling no Better? The Effect of Lottery Prizes on Physical and Mental Health," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(5), pages 516-538, May.
    5. Wankyo Chung & Beomsoo Kim, 2012. "Money Transfer and Birth Weight: A Causal Link from Alaska," Discussion Paper Series 1202, Institute of Economic Research, Korea University.
    6. Sung, Jaesang, 2017. "The Impact of Housing Prices on Health in U.S. Before, During and After the Great Recession," MPRA Paper 78831, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. repec:spr:jopoec:v:30:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s00148-017-0651-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Johanna Catherine Maclean & Douglas A. Webber & Michael T. French & Susan L. Ettner, 2015. "The Health Consequences of Adverse Labor Market Events: Evidence from Panel Data," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(3), pages 478-498, July.
    9. Paredes, Dusan & Komarek, Timothy & Loveridge, Scott, 2015. "Income and employment effects of shale gas extraction windfalls: Evidence from the Marcellus region," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 112-120.
    10. McInerney, Melissa & Mellor, Jennifer M. & Nicholas, Lauren Hersch, 2013. "Recession depression: Mental health effects of the 2008 stock market crash," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1090-1104.
    11. repec:wly:hlthec:v:25:y:2016:i:s2:p:57-69 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Owen O'Donnell & Eddy Van Doorslaer & Tom Van Ourti, 2013. "Health and Inequality," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-170/V, Tinbergen Institute.
    13. Dale R. DeBoer & Edward C. Hoang, 2017. "Inheritances and Bequest Planning: Evidence from the Survey of Consumer Finances," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 38(1), pages 45-56, March.
    14. Chen, Xi & Wang, Tianyu & Busch, Susan, 2016. "Does Money Relieve Depression? Evidence from Social Pension Expansions in China," IZA Discussion Papers 10037, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    15. Brady P. Horn & Johanna Catherine Maclean & Michael R. Strain, 2017. "Do Minimum Wage Increases Influence Worker Health?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 55(4), pages 1986-2007, October.
    16. Dusan Paredes & Timothy Komarek & Scott Loveridge, 2014. "Assessing the Income and Employment Effects of Shale Gas Extraction Windfalls: Evidence from the Marcellus Region," Documentos de Trabajo en Economia y Ciencia Regional 49, Universidad Catolica del Norte, Chile, Department of Economics, revised Mar 2014.
    17. van Kippersluis, Hans & Galama, Titus J., 2014. "Wealth and health behavior: Testing the concept of a health cost," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 197-220.
    18. Maclean, Johanna Catherine, 2013. "The health effects of leaving school in a bad economy," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 951-964.
    19. Frijters, Paul & Johnston, David W. & Shields, Michael A. & Sinha, Kompal, 2015. "A lifecycle perspective of stock market performance and wellbeing," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 237-250.
    20. Ajay Mahal & Lainie Sutton, 2014. "Economic prosperity and non-communicable disease: understanding the linkages," Chapters,in: Handbook on Food, chapter 12, pages 278-324 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    21. repec:eee:socmed:v:192:y:2017:i:c:p:36-48 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. Katherine Grace Carman, 2013. "Inheritances, Intergenerational Transfers, and the Accumulation of Health," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 451-455, May.
    23. Eleonora Fichera & John Gathergood, 2016. "Do Wealth Shocks Affect Health? New Evidence from the Housing Boom," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(S2), pages 57-69, November.
    24. Au, Nicole & Johnston, David W., 2014. "Self-assessed health: What does it mean and what does it hide?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 21-28.

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    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

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