The Role of Intergenerational Transfers in Aggregate Capital Accumulation

70 Pages Posted: 17 May 2000 Last revised: 21 Sep 2010

See all articles by Laurence J. Kotlikoff

Laurence J. Kotlikoff

Boston University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy

Lawrence H. Summers

Harvard University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Date Written: February 1980

Abstract

This paper uses historicaI U.S. data to directly estimate the contribution of intergenerational transfers to aggregate capital accumulation. The evidence presented indicates that intergenerational transfers account for the vast majority of aggregate U .S. capital formation; only a negligible fraction of actual capital accumulation can be traced u, life-cycle or "hump" savings. A major difference between this study and previous investigations of this issue is the use of more accurate longitudinal age-earnings and age-consumption profiles. These profiles are simply too flat to generate substantial lifecycle savings. This paper suggests the importance of and need for substantially greater research and data collection on intergenerational transfers. fife-cycle models of savings that emphasize savings for retirement as the dominant form of apical accumulation should give way to models that illuminate the determinants of intergenerational transfers.

Suggested Citation

Kotlikoff, Laurence J. and Summers, Lawrence H., The Role of Intergenerational Transfers in Aggregate Capital Accumulation (February 1980). NBER Working Paper No. w0445. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=226922

Laurence J. Kotlikoff (Contact Author)

Boston University - Department of Economics ( email )

270 Bay State Road
Boston, MA 02215
United States
617-353-4002 (Phone)
617-353-4449 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy

Gazetny per. 5-3
Moscow, 125993
Russia

Lawrence H. Summers

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-1502 (Phone)
617-495-8550 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
47
Abstract Views
900
PlumX Metrics