Inter-vivos Giving Over the Lifecycle
Inter-vivos cash transfers and bequests between family members total hundreds of billions of dollars each year. They may equalize resources within a generation of a family as well as across family generations. Transfers delayed to the end of life may represent a significant motive for saving. The authors use longitudinal data from the Health and Retirement Study on inter-vivos transfers that span up to twelve years to: describe financial transfers made by parents to children and their correlation with donor characteristics, examine age patterns in giving behavior, the persistence of transfers, and how transfers change in response to changes in marital status, economic status and health. Their empirical analysis is motivated by a dynamic life-cycle model with intervivos transfers as an argument in the utility function which generates hypotheses about the age pattern of transfers and how mortality risk, risk aversion and economic resources affect giving behavior.
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