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Are Americans and Indians More Altruistic than the Japanese and Chinese? Evidence from a New International Survey of Bequest Plans

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  • Charles Yuji Horioka

Abstract

This paper discusses three alternative assumptions concerning household preferences (altruism, self-interest, and a desire for dynasty building) and shows that these assumptions have very different implications for bequest motives and bequest division. After reviewing some of the literature on actual bequests, bequest motives, and bequest division, the paper presents data on the strength of bequest motives, stated bequest motives, and bequest division plans from a new international survey conducted in China, India, Japan, and the United States. It finds striking inter-country differences in bequest plans, with the bequest plans of Americans and Indians appearing to be much more consistent with altruistic preferences than those of the Japanese and Chinese and the bequest plans of the Japanese and Chinese appearing to be much more consistent with selfish preferences than those of Americans and Indians. These findings have important implications for the efficacy and desirability of stimulative fiscal policies, public pensions, and inheritance taxes.

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  • Charles Yuji Horioka, 2014. "Are Americans and Indians More Altruistic than the Japanese and Chinese? Evidence from a New International Survey of Bequest Plans," NBER Working Papers 20158, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20158
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    Cited by:

    1. Niimi, Yoko, 2016. "To Avoid or Not to Avoid Inheritance Taxes? That Is the Question for Parents: Empirical Evidence from Japan," AGI Working Paper Series 2016-13, Asian Growth Research Institute.
    2. Ainhoa Aparicio-Fenoll & Veruska Oppedisano, 2016. "Should I stay or should I go? Sibling effects in household formation," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 14(4), pages 1007-1027, December.
    3. Charles Yuji Horioka, 2014. "Evolutionary economics and household behavior," Philippine Review of Economics, University of the Philippines School of Economics and Philippine Economic Society, vol. 51(2), pages 67-82, December.
    4. repec:red:issued:14-279 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Yoko Niimi & Charles Yuji Horioka, 2016. "The Impact of Intergenerational Transfers on Household Wealth Inequality in Japan and the United States," NBER Working Papers 22687, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Charles Yuji Horioka, 2016. "Are the Japanese Unique? Evidence from Household Saving and Bequest Behavior," ISER Discussion Paper 0973, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    7. Charles Yuji Horioka & Emin Gahramanov & Aziz Hayat & Xueli Tang, 2018. "Why Do Children Take Care Of Their Elderly Parents? Are The Japanese Any Different?," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 59(1), pages 113-136, February.
    8. Yoshitaka Koda & Manachaya Uruyos, 2015. "Altruism and four shades of family relationships," Eurasian Economic Review, Springer;Eurasia Business and Economics Society, vol. 5(2), pages 345-365, December.
    9. HAMAAKI Junya & HORI Masahiro & MURATA Keiko, 2016. "The Intra-Family Division of Bequests and Bequest Motives: Empirical Evidence from a Survey on Japanese Households," ESRI Discussion paper series 333, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    10. Yoko Niimi, 2016. "The “Costs” of informal care: an analysis of the impact of elderly care on caregivers’ subjective well-being in Japan," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 14(4), pages 779-810, December.
    11. Russell Cooper & Guozhong Zhu, 2017. "Household Finance in China," NBER Working Papers 23741, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Shoshana Grossbard, 2014. "A note on altruism and caregiving in the family: do prices matter?," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 487-491, September.
    13. Zhong Chunping & Pan Li & Shu Lingwei, 2016. "Do religious beliefs affect borrowing behavior? Evidence from Chinese households," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 14(4), pages 989-1005, December.
    14. Hazem Alshaikhmubarak & R. Richard Geddes & Shoshana Amyra Grossbard, 2017. "Single Motherhood and the Abolition of Coverture in the United States," CESifo Working Paper Series 6471, CESifo Group Munich.
    15. repec:bla:jecrev:v:68:y:2017:i:4:p:470-496 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • 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
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • P52 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - Comparative Studies of Particular Economies
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion

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