Donald Cox

  • Current position:
    Professor of Economics, Boston College, USA (1995–present)
  • Positions/functions as policy advisor:
    Consultant, The World Bank, 1986–present; Social Sciences and Population Study Section, National Institutes of Health, 1997–2004
  • Research interest:
    Intergenerational transfers, biology and economics, economic development, and labor economics
  • Website:
  • Affiliations:
    Boston College, USA
  • Past positions:
    Associate Professor, Boston College, USA (1987–1994); Assistant Professor, Washington University, USA (1981–1987); National Fellow, Hoover Institute, Stanford University, USA (1984–1985)
  • Qualifications:
    PhD Economics, Brown University, 1980
  • Selected publications:
    • “Intergenerational transfers.” In: Hughes, M. E., A. Pienta, and R. Crosnoe (eds). Encyclopedia of Life Course and Human Development. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2009.
    • Bequests, Inheritances, and Family Traditions. CRR WP 2005-09, August 2005 (with O. Stark).
    • “How responsive are private transfers to income? Evidence from a laissez-faire economy.” Journal of Public Economics 88:9–10 (2004): 2193–2219 (with B. Hansen and E. Jimenez).
    • “Private interhousehold transfers in Vietnam in the early and late 1990s.” In: Glewwe, P., and D. Dollar (eds). Economic Growth and Household Welfare: Policy Lessons for Vietnam. Washington, DC: The World Bank, 2004.
    • “Private transfers within the family: Mothers, fathers, sons and daughters.” In: Munnell, A., and A. Sunden (eds). Death and Dollars: The Role of Gifts and Bequests in America. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2003.
  • Articles

Inheritance, bequests, and labor supply

Inheritance-related work disincentives can be strong, but labor supply could increase if bequests facilitate entrepreneurship

September 2014

10.15185/izawol.69 69

by Donald Cox Cox, D

Inheriting money can be a problem since the new wealth might sap the beneficiaries’ incentive to work. Or it could do the opposite, by facilitating entrepreneurship among those whose ambition to start a business had been stymied by a lack of cash. Recent evidence suggests inheritance-related work disincentives can be strong—unexpected inheritances can matter a lot for early retirement, for example. But where inheritances facilitate self-employment, as some evidence suggests, the labor supply might increase.