This paper examines tax-return-generated data on the labor force behavior of people before and after they receive inheritances. The results are consistent with Andrew Carnegie's century-old assertion that large inheritances decrease a person's labor force participation. For example, a single person who receives an inheritance of about $150, 000 is roughly four times more likely to leave the labor force than a person with an inheritance below $25, 000. Additional, albeit weaker, evidence suggests that large inheritances depress labor supply, even when participation is unaltered. Warren Kendall … heir to an insurance company fortune … says he's worth about $5 million and has an income of “about, oh, $300 and some thousand a year.” [H]e has never held a job, or wanted to. Going down to sea in cruise ships is his full-time pursuit. He estimates that he has taken about 250 cruises over the past couple of decades, spending at least 50 percent to 70 percent of the year afloat [Morgenthaler, 1991, p. Al].
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Economics and Econometrics