Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
Uppsala University, Department of Economics

No 2011:5: Carnegie visits Nobel: Do inheritances affect labor and capital income?

Mikael Elinder (), Oscar Erixson () and Henry Ohlsson ()
Additional contact information
Mikael Elinder: Department of Economics, Postal: Uppsala University, P.O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Oscar Erixson: Department of Economics, Postal: Uppsala University, P.O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Henry Ohlsson: Department of Economics, Postal: Uppsala University, P.O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden

Abstract: The objective of this paper is to study when and how much labor supply and savings of heirs respond to inheritances. We estimate fixed effects models following direct heirs, inheriting in 2004, during the years 2000–2008 using Swedish panel data. Our first main result is that the more the heir inherits,the lower her labor income becomes. This labor supply effect appears in the years after the heir had inherited. We also find evidence of anticipation effects that occur before the actual transfer. Our second main result is that the more the heir inherits, the higher her capital income becomes. This savings effect only appears in the years after receiving the inheritance. It disappears after a couple of years.

Keywords: inheritances; bequests; windfall gains; labor supply; capital income; uncertainty

JEL-codes: D10; D80; D91; J22

34 pages, March 3, 2011

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