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Inheritance and Saving


  • David Joulfaian


This paper explores the effects of inheritances on the saving of recipients. Information on inheritances and heirs is obtained from estate tax records of decedents which are linked to the income tax records of beneficiaries. The observed pattern of wealth mobility within two years of the receipt of inheritances and multivariate analyses show that wealth increases by less than the full amount of the inheritance received. Similarly, and consistent with previous findings, large inheritances are found to depress labor force participation.

Suggested Citation

  • David Joulfaian, 2006. "Inheritance and Saving," NBER Working Papers 12569, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12569
    Note: PE EFG

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Douglas Holtz-Eakin & David Joulfaian & Harvey S. Rosen, 1993. "The Carnegie Conjecture: Some Empirical Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(2), pages 413-435.
    2. David N. Weil, 1994. "The Saving of the Elderly in Micro and Macro Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(1), pages 55-81.
    3. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas & Joulfaian, David & Rosen, Harvey S, 1994. "Sticking It Out: Entrepreneurial Survival and Liquidity Constraints," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(1), pages 53-75, February.
    4. Blanchflower, David G & Oswald, Andrew J, 1998. "What Makes an Entrepreneur?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 26-60, January.
    5. David Joulfaian & Mark O. Wilhelm, 1994. "Inheritance and Labor Supply," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(4), pages 1205-1234.
    6. William G. Gale & John Karl Scholz, 1994. "Intergenerational Transfers and the Accumulation of Wealth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 145-160, Fall.
    7. David N. Weil, 1996. "Intergenerational Transfers, Aging, and Uncertainty," NBER Chapters,in: Advances in the Economics of Aging, pages 321-342 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Douglas Holtz-Eakin & David Joulfaian & Harvey S. Rosen, 1994. "Entrepreneurial Decisions and Liquidity Constraints," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(2), pages 334-347, Summer.
    9. Christopher D. Carroll & Miles S. Kimball, 2001. "Liquidity Constraints and Precautionary Saving," NBER Working Papers 8496, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Elinder Mikael & Erixson Oscar & Ohlsson Henry, 2012. "The Impact of Inheritances on Heirs' Labor and Capital Income," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 1-37, December.
    2. Marta Melguizo Garde, 2007. "La motivación de las transmisiones lucrativas entre generaciones de una familia: modelos teóricos y evidencia empírica," Hacienda Pública Española, IEF, vol. 181(2), pages 81-118, June.
    3. Johann K. Brunner, 2010. "Die Erbschaftssteuer im Modell der optimalen Besteuerung," Economics working papers 2010-14, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    4. repec:bla:revinw:v:63:y:2017:i:2:p:394-408 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Erlend Eide Bø & Elin Halvorsen & Thor Olav Thoresen, 2015. "Heterogeneity of the Carnegie Effect," CESifo Working Paper Series 5339, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. Straubhaar, Thomas, 2007. "Erbschaftssteuer: Abschaffen ist besser als revidieren," HWWI Policy Papers 1-7, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI).
    7. Abdul Ghafar Ismail & Bayu Taufiq Possumah & Mohd Najib Abdul Kadir, 2014. "Inter-generational transfer under Islamic perspective," Humanomics: The International Journal of Systems and Ethics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 30(2), pages 95-121, May.
    8. Peter Mooslechner & Martin Schürz & Pirmin Fessler, 2008. "How Inheritances Relate to Wealth Distribution? Theoretical Reasoning and Empirical Evidence on the Basis of LWS Data," LWS Working papers 6, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies

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