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The intra-family division of bequests and bequest motives: empirical evidence from a survey on Japanese households

Junya Hamaaki (), Masahiro Hori and Keiko Murata
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Junya Hamaaki: Economic and Social Research Institute, Cabinet Office
Keiko Murata: Economic and Social Research Institute, Cabinet Office

Journal of Population Economics, 2019, vol. 32, issue 1, No 10, 309-346

Abstract: Abstract The division of bequests among family members differs sharply between Japan and the USA. Whereas in the USA, bequests tend to be divided equally among decedents’ children, they tend to be divided unequally in Japan. We start by arguing that certain legal and institutional aspects, which are not present in Japan, lead to equal bequests in the USA. We then investigate unequal patterns of bequest division in Japan to understand parental bequest motives. Utilizing institutional characteristics that are specific to Japan allows us to examine parental motives. We find that while the patterns of bequest division look generally consistent with most of the parental bequest motives suggested in the literature, such as the dynastic and the strategic motive, parents do not necessarily bequeath more to economically disadvantaged children.

Keywords: Bequests; Dynastic motive; Altruism; Strategic motive; Japan (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D13 D31 D64 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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Working Paper: The Intra-Family Division of Bequests and Bequest Motives: Empirical Evidence from a Survey on Japanese Households (2016) Downloads
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DOI: 10.1007/s00148-018-0712-1

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