The Effect of the Source of Inheritance on Bequest Attitudes: Evidence from Japan
A better understanding of the reasons for bequests can be pivotal for the effectiveness of fiscal policy and wealth inequality management as the different bequest motives underlying bequest behavior have different implications. This study examines community-based indirect reciprocity in bequest attitudes over three generations. The theoretical model, called community-based family tradition, suggests that the source of the inheritance impacts the amount of the bequest left to one’s children or one’s spouse. The study empirically analyzes survey data from the 2009 wave of the Preference Parameters Study for Japan. The results suggest that with some socio-economics characteristics controlled, those who have received an inheritance from their parents are more likely to intend to bequest as much as possible to their children, while those who have received an inheritance from their spouse’s parents are more likely to intend to bequest as much as possible to both their children and their spouse. Hence, the source of inheritance does affect bequest attitudes, which suggests that there is community-based indirect reciprocity in bequest attitudes. The empirical results from gender comparison suggest that the taxation on inheritance is less functional for females than for males.