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Intergenerational Transfers in the Health and Retirement Study Data

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  • John Laitner

    (University of Michigan)

  • Amanda Sonnega

    (University of Michigan)

Abstract

Many economic analyses of public policy issues are based upon the life-cycle model of household behavior. The usual formulation omits private intergenerational transfers. This paper considers the possibility of a more sophisticated formulation that includes the latter. We examine 1992-2008 HRS data on inheritances and inter vivos gifts. We uncover an underreporting problem in the data: a household’s financial respondent often seems to understate transfers from his/her in-laws. Nevertheless, other aspects of the data seem very useful. About 30-40 percent of households eventually inherit. Inheritances seem to reflect a mixture of intentional and accidental bequests, with the latter twice as prevalent.

Suggested Citation

  • John Laitner & Amanda Sonnega, 2010. "Intergenerational Transfers in the Health and Retirement Study Data," Working Papers wp238, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:mrr:papers:wp238
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Edward N. Wolff & Maury Gittleman, 2011. "Inheritances and the Distribution of Wealth or Whatever Happened to the Great Inheritance Boom? Results from the SCF and PSID," NBER Working Papers 16840, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Blau, David M. & Goodstein, Ryan M., 2016. "Commitment in the household: Evidence from the effect of inheritances on the labor supply of older married couples," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 123-137.
    3. Mariacristina De Nardi & Eric French & John Bailey Jones, 2016. "Savings After Retirement: A Survey," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 8(1), pages 177-204, October.
    4. Edward Wolff & Maury Gittleman, 2014. "Inheritances and the distribution of wealth or whatever happened to the great inheritance boom?," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 12(4), pages 439-468, December.
    5. John Laitner & Dan Silverman & Dmitriy Stolyarov, 2018. "The Role of Annuitized Wealth in Post-retirement Behavior," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 10(3), pages 71-117, July.
    6. John Laitner & Daniel Silverman & Dmitriy Stolyarov, 2014. "Annuitized Wealth and Post-Retirement Saving," NBER Working Papers 20547, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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