Louis Kaplow, Utility from Accumulation, Proc. Ann. Conf. on Tax'n, 2009, at 189.
Abstract: The present investigation incorporates utility from accumulation in an intertemporal model in order to examine effects on consumption, savings, inter vivos gifts and bequests (both to descendants and to charities), and annuitization. It is natural to explore these relationships. Moreover, in these areas there are empirical regularities that seem difficult to explain using conventional models. In choosing between inter vivos gifts and bequests to descendants, individuals seem to do far too little of the former in light of the potential estate tax savings. The magnitude of charitable bequests (versus inter vivos contributions) also seems puzzling in light of tax considerations. The next section presents the model, analyzes individuals' optimizing behavior, and derives results regarding the effects of utility from accumulation. A final section relates these findings to observed behavior.