Inheritance Norms for Distributions of Money, Land, and Things in Families


Goodnow, Jacqueline J., and Jeanette A. Lawrence. 2010. “Inheritance Norms for Distributions of Money, Land, and Things in Families.” Family Science 1 (2): 73–82. doi:10.1080/19424620.2010.536411.

Authors: Jacqueline J. Goodnow, Jeanette A. Lawrence


Inheritance events provide a window onto family relationships, especially across generations. This review brings together analyses of the expected distribution of money, land, and personal possessions, outlining for each the choices faced, the competing norms that come into play, and the concerns that may tip the balance between these. Brought out are points of difference in what is thought should happen with money, land, and things, together with common themes (e.g., concerns with continuity and with not treating family transfers as if they were market exchanges). Brought out also are several directions for further research and for conceptual links to analyses of close relationships.

Keywords: inheritance arrangements, distribution norms, money, land, personal possessions

Topics: Economies, Gender, Households, Rights, Land Rights

Year: 2010

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