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Parental Altruism and Inter Vivos Transfers: Theory and Evidence

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  • Altonji, Joseph G
  • Hayashi, Fumio
  • Kotlikoff, Laurence J

Abstract

This paper uses Panel Study of Income Dynamics data on the extended family to test whether inter vivos transfers from parents to children are motivated by altruism. Specifically, the paper tests whether an increase by one dollar in the income of parents actively making transfers to a child coupled with a one-dollar reduction in that child's income results in a one-dollar increase in the parents' transfer to the child. The authors find that redistributing one dollar from a recipient child to donor parents leads to less than a thirteen-cent increase in the transfer--far less than the one-dollar increase implied by altruism. Copyright 1997 by the University of Chicago.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 105 (1997)
Issue (Month): 6 (December)
Pages: 1121-66

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:105:y:1997:i:6:p:1121-66

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  1. Drazen, Allan, 1978. "Government Debt, Human Capital, and Bequests in a Life-Cycle Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(3), pages 505-16, June.
  2. Bernheim, B Douglas & Shleifer, Andrei & Summers, Lawrence H, 1986. "The Strategic Bequest Motive," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(3), pages S151-82, July.
  3. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
  4. David Altig & Steve J. Davis, 1991. "The Timing of Intergenerational Transfers, Tax Policy, and Aggregate Savings," NBER Working Papers 3753, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," NBER Working Papers 0042, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Cox, Donald, 1987. "Motives for Private Income Transfers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 508-46, June.
  7. Cox, Donald & Rank, Mark R, 1992. "Inter-vivos Transfers and Intergenerational Exchange," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(2), pages 305-14, May.
  8. Kotlikoff, Laurence J & Spivak, Avia, 1981. "The Family as an Incomplete Annuities Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(2), pages 372-91, April.
  9. Sebastian Edwards & Miguel Savastano, 1988. "Latin America's Intraregional Trade: Evolution and Future Prospects," NBER Working Papers 2738, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Hayashi, Fumio, 1995. "Is the Japanese Extended Family Altruistically Linked? A Test Based on Engel Curves," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(3), pages 661-74, June.
  11. Yannis M. Ioannides & Kambon Kan, 1999. "The Nature of Two-Directional Intergenerational Transfers of Money and Time: An Empirical Analysis," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 9917, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  12. Bergstrom, T.C., 1993. "A Survey of Theories of the Family," Papers 93-02, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
  13. Joseph G. Altonji & Fumio Hayashi & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1989. "Is the Extended Family Altruistically Linked? Direct Tests Using Micro Data," NBER Working Papers 3046, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. William G. Gale & John Karl Scholz, 1991. "Intergenerational Transfers and the Accumulation of Wealth," UCLA Economics Working Papers 624, UCLA Department of Economics.
  15. Cox, Donald, 1990. "Intergenerational Transfers and Liquidity Constraints," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(1), pages 187-217, February.
  16. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Assaf Razin & Robert W. Rosenthal, 1988. "A Strategic Altruism Model In Which Ricardian Equivalence Does Not Hold," NBER Working Papers 2699, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Blinder, Alan S, 1976. "Intergenerational Transfers and Life Cycle Consumption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 87-93, May.
  18. Menchik, Paul L, 1980. "Primogeniture, Equal Sharing, and the U. S. Distribution of Wealth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 94(2), pages 299-316, March.
  19. Pollak, Robert A, 1985. "A Transaction Cost Approach to Families and Households," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 23(2), pages 581-608, June.
  20. Blundell, Richard & Meghir, Costas, 1987. "Bivariate alternatives to the Tobit model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1-2), pages 179-200.
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