Is a Bird in Hand Worth More than a Bird in the Bush? Intergenerational Transfers and Savings Behavior
This paper provides new evidence on the decomposition of aggregate household wealth into life-cycle and transfer wealth. Using the 1998 Survey of Consumer Finances, it finds that transfer wealth accounts for approximately one-fifth to one-quarter of aggregate wealth, suggesting a larger role for life-cycle savings than some previous estimates. Despite the smaller aggregate size of transfer wealth, its concentration among a small number of households suggests that it can still have an important effect on the savings decisions of recipients. Estimates suggest that past receipts of transfer wealth reduce life-cycle savings by as much as dollar-for-dollar, while expected future transfers do not produce such a crowd-out effect.
Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w8753
Published: Wise, D. (ed.) Perspectives on the Economics of Aging. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2004.
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