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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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    1. Serdar Ozkan & Jae Song & Fatih Karahan & Fatih Guvenen, 2013. "What Do Data on Millions of U.S. Workers Say About Labor Income Risk?," 2013 Meeting Papers 1271, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. 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, February.
    3. Lee M. Lockwood, 2014. "Incidental Bequests: Bequest Motives and the Choice to Self-Insure Late-Life Risks," NBER Working Papers 20745, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
    5. Daniel Barczyk & Matthias Kredler, 2014. "Altruistically motivated transfers under uncertainty," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 5(3), pages 705-749, November.
    6. Cagetti, Marco, 2003. "Wealth Accumulation over the Life Cycle and Precautionary Savings," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 21(3), pages 339-353, July.
    7. Mi Luo & Matthew Shapiro & Joseph Briggs & Chris Tonetti & Andrew Caplin & John Ameriks, 2016. "Inter-generational transfers and precautionary saving," 2016 Meeting Papers 1616, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    8. Fatih Karahan & Serdar Ozkan, 2013. "On the Persistence of Income Shocks over the Life Cycle: Evidence, Theory, and Implications," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(3), pages 452-476, July.
    9. Patricia Andreski & Geng Li & Mehmet Zahid Samancioglu & Robert Schoeni, 2014. "Estimates of Annual Consumption Expenditures and Its Major Components in the PSID in Comparison to the CE," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 132-135.
    10. Lee Lockwood, 2012. "Bequest Motives and the Annuity Puzzle," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 15(2), pages 226-243, April.
    11. Strawczynski, Michael, 1994. "Government intervention as a bequest substitute," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 477-495.
    12. Skinner, Jonathan, 1987. "A superior measure of consumption from the panel study of income dynamics," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 213-216.
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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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