Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
Uppsala University, Department of Economics

No 1998:16: Bequest Motives: A Comparison of Sweden and the United States

John Laitner and Henry Ohlsson ()
Additional contact information
John Laitner: University of Michigan, Postal: Department of Economics, Lorch Hall, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1220, USA, ,
Henry Ohlsson: Department of Economics, Postal: Department of Economics, Uppsala University, P.O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden

Abstract: This paper reviews four well--known theoretical models of private bequest behavior, notes their differing implications for public policy, and discusses a way of empirically discriminating among them. Then it implements the test with micro data from Sweden (LLS) and the U.S. (PSID). The so-called altruistic (or dynastic) model, which, among the four models, has perhaps the most wide-ranging implications for policy, receives some, though limited, support in the LLS, but not the PSID. The inter-country difference is statistically significant. There is evidence of a potential complication due to a dependence of children's education on parents financial status in the case of the U.S.

Keywords: accidental model; altruistic model; egoistic model; exchange model

JEL-codes: D64; D91

32 pages, July 15, 1998

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