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Can the Life Insurance Market Provide Evidence for a Bequest Motive?

  • Alexander Michaelides

    (University of Cyprus)

  • Joachim Inkmann

    (University of Melbourne)

Using U.K. microeconomic data, we analyze the empirical determinants of participation in the life insurance market. We find that term insurance demand is positively correlated with measures of bequest motives like being married, having children and/or subjective measures of strong bequest motives. We then show that a life-cycle model of life insurance demand, saving and portfolio choice can rationalize quantitatively the data in the presence of a bequest motive. These findings provide evidence supporting the presence of a bequest motive.

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2011 Meeting Papers with number 108.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed011:108
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Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA

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  1. Kotlikoff, Laurence J & Summers, Lawrence H, 1981. "The Role of Intergenerational Transfers in Aggregate Capital Accumulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 706-32, August.
  2. Darrell Duffie & Kenneth J. Singleton, 1990. "Simulated Moments Estimation of Markov Models of Asset Prices," NBER Technical Working Papers 0087, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Mariacristina De Nardi & Eric French & John B. Jones, 2010. "Why Do the Elderly Save? The Role of Medical Expenses," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(1), pages 39-75, 02.
  4. Joachim Inkmann & Paula Lopes & Alexander Michaelides, 2011. "How Deep Is the Annuity Market Participation Puzzle?," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 24(1), pages 279-319.
  5. Michael Haliassos, Alexander Michaelides, 2000. "Portfolio Choice And Liquidity Constraints," Computing in Economics and Finance 2000 297, Society for Computational Economics.
  6. Hurd, Michael D, 1987. "Savings of the Elderly and Desired Bequests," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 298-312, June.
  7. Mariacristina deNardi, 2000. "Wealth Inequality and Intergenerational Links," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0547, Econometric Society.
  8. Sule Alan, 2005. "Entry Costs and Stock Market Participation Over the Life Cycle," Working Papers 2005_1, York University, Department of Economics.
  9. Wojciech Kopczuk & Joseph Lupton, 2005. "To Leave or Not To Leave: The Distribution of Bequest Motives," NBER Working Papers 11767, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. B. Douglas Bernheim & Lorenzo Forni & Jagadeesh Gokhale & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 2003. "The Mismatch Between Life Insurance Holdings and Financial Vulnerabilities: Evidence from the Health and Retirement Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 354-365, March.
  11. Motohiro Yogo, 2008. "Portfolio Choice in Retirement: Health Risk and the Demand for Annuities, Housing, and Risky Assets," 2008 Meeting Papers 63, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  12. Francisco Gomes & Alexander Michaelides, 2003. "Optimal life-cycle asset allocation: understanding the empirical evidence," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 24900, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  13. B. Douglas Bernheim, 1989. "How Strong are Bequest Motives? Evidence Based on Estimates of the Demand for Life Insurance and Annuities," NBER Working Papers 2942, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Epstein, Larry G & Zin, Stanley E, 1989. "Substitution, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Consumption and Asset Returns: A Theoretical Framework," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(4), pages 937-69, July.
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