ISR|SRC|Michigan Retirement Research Center|UofM
Mailing List | News | Contact Us
Follow onTwitter
Main photo Promoting research on retirement and Social Security policy

Key Findings Details

Motives for Bequests within the Middle Class
John P. Laitner and Amanda Sonnega
WP 2012-275

  • Using Health and Retirement Study data on the ratio of parent-to-child lifetime incomes, we analyze the motives behind bequests. We find support for an unintentional transfer model in which bequests arise from residual, unspent parent life-cycle resources.
  • We find some evidence of altruistic bequest behavior, but the support seems limited.
  • We show that our model can account for the frequency of dual inheritances that earlier work revealed.