Extended Family and Kinship Networks: Economic Insights and Evolutionary Directions
AbstractWhat do we know about the role of extended families and kinship networks for redistributing resources? What gaps in our knowledge most need to be filled? How can we best organize current work and identify priorities for future research? These questions are important for several reasons: households in developing countries depend on friends and relatives for their livelihood and sometimes their survival; help exchanged within extended families and kin networks affects the distribution of economic well-being, and this private assistance and exchange can interact with public income redistribution. Yet despite rapid recent progress there remain significant deficiencies in our understanding of the economics of extended families. Researchers confront a large and sometimes bewildering array of findings. We review and assess this literature by starting with an emphasis on standard economic concerns, most notably the possible interaction between government-provided social insurance and private kinship networks. Our review of the evidence suggests that the specter of complete "crowding out," whereby introduction or expansion of public transfers merely supplants private transfers, appears quite remote, though not impossible. However, numerous studies do suggest partial - but nonetheless substantial - crowding out, on the order of a 20-to-30-cent reduction in private transfers per dollar increase in public transfers. But the range of estimated effects is exceedingly wide, with many studies suggesting little private transfer response at all. Reconciling and explaining these disparate findings is a priority for future research. Theorizing about the economics of families should move beyond its concentration on income effects. The empirical literature indeed indicates that non-economic variables, such as age and gender, can have a powerful association with private transfers. We suggest that economists tap into the extensive non-economic literature that takes an evolutionary approach to the family. We show that this literature provides valuable guidance for modeling the effects of age, sex and relatedness in the interactions among extended family members. The evolutionary literature has much to offer economists interested in family behavior by proposing novel interpretations of existing findings and pointing out new and fruitful directions for future research. We encourage economists to pay more attention to this approach when studying kinship networks.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
This chapter was published in:
This item is provided by Elsevier in its series Handbook of Development Economics with number 5-58.
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/bookseriesdescription.cws_home/BS_HE/description
extended family; kinship network; private transfers; remittances; inter-household transfers; crowding out; risk sharing; Hamilton's rule; cultural norms;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- O15 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Yoshito Takasaki, 2011. "Fraud and Poverty: Exploring Ex Ante Victim Data," Tsukuba Economics Working Papers 2011-002, Economics, Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Tsukuba.
- Angelucci, Manuela & De Giorgi, Giacomo & Rangel, Marcos A. & Rasul, Imran, 2009.
"Family Networks and School Enrolment: Evidence from a Randomized Social Experiment,"
IZA Discussion Papers
4497, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Angelucci, Manuela & De Giorgi, Giacomo & Rangel, Marcos A. & Rasul, Imran, 2010. "Family networks and school enrolment: Evidence from a randomized social experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(3-4), pages 197-221, April.
- Manuela Angelucci & Giacomo De Giorgi & Marcos A. Rangel & Imran Rasul, 2009. "Family Networks and School Enrolment: Evidence from a Randomized Social Experiment," NBER Working Papers 14949, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- De Fraja, Gianni, 2009. "The origin of utility: Sexual selection and conspicuous consumption," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 51-69, October.
- Christine Binzel & Dietmar Fehr, 2010.
"Social Relationships and Trust,"
SFB 649 Discussion Papers
SFB649DP2010-028, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
- Olivera Angulo, Javier, 2008.
"Motives for parental money transfers in Europe,"
Open Access publications from Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
urn:hdl:123456789/198338, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven.
- Richard P.C. Brown & Eliana V. Jimenez, 2008. "A Mixed-Motives Model of Private Transfers with Subjectively-Assessed Recipient Need: Evidence from a Poor, Transfer-Dependent Economy," Discussion Papers Series 365, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
- David Dreyer Lassen & Helene Bie Lilleør, 2008. "Informal Institutions and Intergenerational Contracts: Evidence from Schooling and Remittances in Rural Tanzania," CAM Working Papers 2008-03, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Applied Microeconometrics.
- Richard P.C. Brown & Eliana V. Jimenez, 2008. "Remittances and Subjective Welfare in a Mixed-Motives Model: Evidence from Fiji," Discussion Papers Series 370, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.