Inheritances, health and death
Article first published online: 19 DEC 2010
Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Volume 21, Issue 2, pages 127–144, February 2012
How to Cite
Kim, B. and Ruhm, C. J. (2012), Inheritances, health and death. Health Econ., 21: 127–144. doi: 10.1002/hec.1695
- Issue published online: 6 JAN 2012
- Article first published online: 19 DEC 2010
- Manuscript Accepted: 22 OCT 2010
- Manuscript Revised: 14 SEP 2010
- Manuscript Received: 16 DEC 2009
- health status;
- health and retirement survey
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. Our main finding is that bequests do not have substantial effects on health, although improvements in quality-of-life are possible. This absence occurs despite increases in out-of-pocket spending on healthcare 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. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.