The Carnegie Conjecture: Some Empirical Evidence
This paper examines tax return-generated data on the labor force behavior of people before and after they receive inheritances. The results are consistent with Andrew Carnegie's century-old assertion that large inheritances decrease a person's labor force participation. For example, a single person who receives an inheritance of over $150,000 is roughly four times more likely to leave the labor force than a person with an inheritance below $25,000. Additional, albeit weaker, evidence suggests that large inheritances depress labor supply, even when participation is unaltered.
Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w4118
Published: Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. CVIII, pp. 413-436 (May 1993). citation courtesy of
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