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Dynastic Precautionary Savings

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  • Corina Boar

    (University of Rochester)

Abstract

This paper demonstrates that parents accumulate savings to insure their children against income risk. I refer to these as dynastic precautionary savings. Using a sample of matched parent-child pairs from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, I test for dynastic precautionary savings by examining the response of parental consumption to the child’s permanent income uncertainty. I exploit variation in permanent income risk across age and industry-occupation groups to confirm that higher uncertainty in the child’s permanent income depresses parental consumption. In particular, I find that the elasticity of parental consumption to child’s permanent income risk ranges between -0.08 and -0.06, and is of similar magnitude to the elasticity of parental consumption to own income risk. Motivated by the empirical evidence, I analyze the implications of dynastic precautionary saving in a quantitative model of altruistically linked overlapping generations. I use the model to (i) examine the size and timing of inter-vivos transfers and bequest, (ii) perform counterfactual experiments to isolate the contribution of dynastic precautionary savings to wealth accumulation and intergenerational transfers, and (iii) assess the effect of two policy proposals that can affect parents’ incentives to engage in dynastic precautionary savings: universal basic income and guaranteed minimum income. Lastly, I explore the implications of strategic interactions between parents and children for parents’ precautionary and dynastic precautionary behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Corina Boar, 2017. "Dynastic Precautionary Savings," 2017 Meeting Papers 343, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed017:343
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Dynastic Precautionary Savings
      by Christian Zimmermann in NEP-DGE blog on 2017-08-29 20:41:40

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