ESRI Discussion Paper Series No.254
Analyses of Bequests Education and Retirement Allowances in Japan:
Empirical Evidence from Survey Data

Masahiro Hori
Visiting Research Fellow, Economic and Social Research Institute
Professor, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University
Junya Hamaaki
Research Officer, Economic and Social Research Institute
Saeko Maeda
Special Fellow, Economic and Social Research Institute
Keiko Murata
Special Fellow, Economic and Social Research Institute
Professor, Graduate School of Social Sciences, Tokyo Metropolitan University

The full text is written in Japanese.


This paper examines the factors that lie behind the intergenerational transfers (through bequests andeducational investment) and retirement allowances in Japan. It is based on our unique microdatataken from the "Survey of Family Relationship, Job Experience, and Intergenerational Transfers,"conducted from January 12 to 31, 2010 by the Economic and Social Research Institute. This surveyis intended to complement existing government statistics, most of which do not cover informationabout real assets, human capital, and the intergenerational transfers. In the first section of this paper,we describe the details of the survey, including the purpose, methodology, and basic statistics.

In the second section, we analyze the following three topics: (1) intergenerational transfersthrough bequests, (2) those through educational investment, and (3) retirement allowances. The firstanalysis reveals that the households whose head has an advanced education and/or is the oldest sonare more likely to receive bequests. It also suggests that most of these receipts occur at the time oftheir parents' deaths. Furthermore, we find that the amount of the household head's income and thatof household assets have a positive correlation both with the probability of receiving the bequestsand the bequest amount.

Next, concerning educational investment, parental educational level has a significant effect onthat of their children. Compared to this, the parents' income and wealth do not have such a largeeffect on the educational level of their children. In addition, we investigate whether the sameeducational level has been reproduced within a family over generations. We find that thereproduction of the same educational level within a family is not a serious problem in Japan. This isdue to the fact that Japanese households have enjoyed increasing opportunities to get a highereducation, especially in more recent decades.

Finally, we analyze the retirement allowances, which are a major component of the permanentincome for Japanese households. The analysis tells us that the service years in the same firm, thefirm size, and the reason for quitting the job (e.g. mandatory retirement) significantly affect theamount of retirement allowances. The retirement allowances (measured as a ratio of the amount ofstandard monthly remuneration) do not appear to differ, however, among people with differenteducational backgrounds (except junior high school graduates). Moreover, expectations about theretirement allowances by current employees are fairly close to the actual amounts that were paid tothe individuals who have already retired.

* For a summary of the household survey which this paper is based on, please visit the following link.

Summary of the "Household Survey on Family Relationships, Employment, Retirement Payments, and Intergenerational Transfers of Assets and Education"別ウィンドウで開きます。(PDF-Format 229 KB)

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