Leadership

Do Bequests Increase Or Decrease Wealth Inequalities?

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Executive Summary

This paper finds that individuals in Japan do not leave very significant bequests, that parents often require a quid pro quo for bequests to their children, and that wealthier individuals leave less bequests, meaning that bequests ameliorate wealth inequalities. The increasing inequality of income, wealth, employment opportunities, etc., is a topic of deep concern not only to economists but also to policymakers and to the public at large in all countries, and bequests and other intergenerational transfers have been suggested as one cause of increasing inequalities.

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