Inheritances, Health and Death

37 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2009 Last revised: 26 Jun 2010

See all articles by Beomsoo Kim

Beomsoo Kim

Korea University

Christopher J. Ruhm

University of Virginia - Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: September 2009

Abstract

We examine how wealth shocks, in the form of inheritances, affect the mortality rates, health status and health behaviors of older adults, using data from eight waves of the Health and Retirement Survey (HRS). Our main finding is that bequests do not have substantial effects on health, although some improvements in quality-of-life are possible. This absence occurs despite increases in out-of-pocket (OOP) spending on health care and in the utilization of medical services, especially discretionary and non-lifesaving types such as dental care. Nor can we find a convincing indication of changes in lifestyles that offset the benefits of increased medical care. Inheritances are associated with higher alcohol consumption, but with no change in smoking or exercise and a possible decrease in obesity.

Suggested Citation

Kim, Beomsoo and Ruhm, Christopher J., Inheritances, Health and Death (September 2009). NBER Working Paper No. w15364, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1475555

Beomsoo Kim

Korea University ( email )

1 Anam-dong 5 ka
Seoul, 136-701
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

Christopher J. Ruhm (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy ( email )

235 McCormick Rd.
P.O. Box 400893
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4893
United States
434-924-7581 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://batten.virginia.edu/cruhm.html

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

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Germany

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