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Specification of the Joy of Giving: Insights from Altruism

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  • Andrew B. Abel
  • Mark Warshawsky

Abstract

This paper analyzes the joy of giving bequest motive in which the utility obtained from leaving a bequest depends only on the size of the bequest. It exploits the fact that this formulation can be interpreted as a reduced form of an altruistic bequest motive to derive a relation between the value of the altruism parameter and the value of the joy of giving parameter. Using previous discussions of an a priori range of plausible values for the altruism parameter we then derive plausible restrictions on the joy of giving parameter. We demonstrate that this parameter may well be orders of magnitude larger than assumed in the existing literature.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew B. Abel & Mark Warshawsky, 1987. "Specification of the Joy of Giving: Insights from Altruism," NBER Working Papers 2154, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2154
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Becker, Gary S, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1063-1093, Nov.-Dec..
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    6. Drazen, Allan, 1978. "Government Debt, Human Capital, and Bequests in a Life-Cycle Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(3), pages 505-516, June.
    7. Fischer, Stanley, 1973. "A Life Cycle Model of Life Insurance Purchases," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(1), pages 132-152, February.
    8. Zvi Bodie & John B. Shoven & David A. Wise, 1987. "Issues in Pension Economics," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bodi87-1.
    9. Steven F. Venti & David A. Wise, 1987. "IRAs and Saving," NBER Chapters,in: The Effects of Taxation on Capital Accumulation, pages 7-52 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Abel, Andrew B, 1985. "Precautionary Saving and Accidental Bequests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 777-791, September.
    11. Weil, Philippe, 1987. "Love thy children : Reflections on the Barro debt neutrality theorem," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 377-391, May.
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