The Importance of Gifts and Inheritances Among the Affluent

36 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2007 Last revised: 7 Feb 2021

See all articles by Michael D. Hurd

Michael D. Hurd

RAND Corporation; State University of New York at Stony Brook - College of Arts and Science - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Gabriela Mundaca

The World Bank

Date Written: October 1987

Abstract

Using data from the 1964 Survey of the Economic Behavior of the Affluent, we estimate directly the fraction of household assets which come from inheritances and the fraction from gifts. These data are well suited for this calculation because the survey is heavily weighted toward households with high incomes, and because the respondents were directly asked about the sources of their wealth. We estimate that 15-202 of household wealth came from inheritances and 5-102 from gifts. Even in households with very high incomes, very few people say that a large fraction of their assets were inherited or were given to them. According to the responses in this survey, it is not creditable that as much as 50% of household assets came from gifts and inheritances. Using data from the 1983 Survey of Consumer Finances with high income supplement, we roughly confirm the 1964 results, although the 1983 data are much less complete than the 1964 data.

Suggested Citation

Hurd, Michael D. and Mundaca, Gabriela, The Importance of Gifts and Inheritances Among the Affluent (October 1987). NBER Working Paper No. w2415, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=977440

Michael D. Hurd (Contact Author)

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State University of New York at Stony Brook - College of Arts and Science - Department of Economics ( email )

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Gabriela Mundaca

The World Bank ( email )

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