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The marginal propensity to spend on adult children
Altonji, Joseph; Villanueva, Ernesto
Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Departament d'Economia i Empresa
We examine how much of an extra dollar of parental lifetime resources willultimately be passed on to adult children in the form of inter vivostransfers and bequests. We infer bequests from the stock of wealth late inlife. We use mortality rates and age specific estimates of the response oftransfers and wealth to permanent income to compute the expected presentdiscounted values of these responses to permanent income. Our estimatesimply parents pass on between 2 and 3 cents out of an extra dollar ofexpected lifetime resources in bequests and about 2 cents in transfers.The estimates increase with parental income and are smaller for nonwhites.They imply that about 15 percent of the effect of parental income onlifetime resources of adult children is through transfers and bequestsand about 85 percent is through the intergenerational correlation inearnings, although these estimates are sensitive to assumptions about theintergenerational earnings correlation, taxes, and the number of children.We compare our estimates to the implications of alternative computablebenchmark models of savings behavior in order to assess the likelyimportance of intended bequests for the wealth/income relationship.
2005-09-15
Labour, Public, Development and Health Economics
bequests
intervivos transfers
permanent income
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Working Paper
         

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