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Are Americans and Indians More Altruistic than the Japanese and Chinese? Evidence from a New International Survey of Bequest Plans

Charles Horioka ()

ISER Discussion Paper from Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University

Abstract: This paper discusses three alternative assumptions concerning household preferences (altruism, self-interest, and a desire for dynasty building) and shows that these assumptions have very different implications for bequest motives and bequest division. After reviewing some of the literature on actual bequests, bequest motives, and bequest division, the paper presents data on the strength of bequest motives, stated bequest motives, and bequest division plans from a new international survey conducted in China, India, Japan, and the United States. It finds striking inter-country differences in bequest plans, with the bequest plans of Americans and Indians appearing to be much more consistent with altruistic preferences than those of the Japanese and Chinese and the bequest plans of the Japanese and Chinese appearing to be much more consistent with selfish preferences than those of Americans and Indians. These findings have important implications for the efficacy and desirability of stimulative fiscal policies, public pensions, and inheritance taxes.

New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cna
Date: 2014-05
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https://www.iser.osaka-u.ac.jp/library/dp/2014/DP0901.pdf

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Journal Article: Are Americans and Indians more altruistic than the Japanese and Chinese? Evidence from a new international survey of bequest plans (2014) Downloads
Working Paper: Are Americans and Indians More Altruistic than the Japanese and Chinese? Evidence from a New International Survey of Bequest Plans (2014) Downloads
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