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Intergenerational Transfers and the Demonstration Effect

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Author Info

  • Donald Cox

    ()
    (Boston College)

  • Oded Stark

    (Harvard University)

Abstract

How can parents secure old-age support in the form of care, attention or financial transfers from their children? We explore the enforcement of implicit intergenerational agreements from a fresh angle by studying the possibility that the child's conduct is conditioned by the parents' example. Parents can take advantage of this learning potential by making transfers to their own parents when children are present to observe such transfers. Parents who desire old-age support have an incentive to behave appropriately. The idea that the parents' behavior is aimed at inculcating desirable behavior in their children generates testable hypotheses about transfers that we investigate using household survey microdata. The demonstration-effect approach also has implications for such diverse phenomena as population aging and the labor market participation of women.

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File URL: http://fmwww.bc.edu/EC-P/wp329.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Boston College Department of Economics in its series Boston College Working Papers in Economics with number 329..

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: 01 Jan 1996
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:329

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Postal: Boston College, 140 Commonwealth Avenue, Chestnut Hill MA 02467 USA
Phone: 617-552-3670
Fax: +1-617-552-2308
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Web page: http://fmwww.bc.edu/EC/
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Related research

Keywords: Demonstration effect; private transfers; altruism; elderly support; fertility; inculcation; family values;

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References

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  1. Bernheim, B Douglas & Stark, Oded, 1988. "Altruism within the Family Reconsidered: Do Nice Guys Finish Last?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(5), pages 1034-45, December.
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  7. Hoddinott, John, 1992. "Rotten Kids or Manipulative Parents: Are Children Old Age Security in Western Kenya?," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 40(3), pages 545-65, April.
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  12. Bergstrom, T.C. & Stark, O., 1993. "How Altruism Can Prevail in an Evolutionary Environment," Papers 93-01, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
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