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Intergenerational Linkages in Consumption Behavior

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  • Donald Cox

    ()
    (Boston College)

  • Serena Ng

    ()
    (Boston College)

  • Andreas Waldkirch

    ()
    (Boston College)

Abstract

Consumption is partly a social activity, yet most studies of consumer behavior treat households in isolation. We investigate familial relationships in consumption patterns using a sample of parents and their children from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. We find a positive and statistically significant parent-specific effect on children¹s consumption even after controlling for the effect of parental income, and we find similar effects for sibling pairs. Child consumption responds negatively to large post-retirement shortfalls in consumption of the parents. This behavior holds up even after allowing for the possibility of smaller parent-to-child transfers made necessary by the parental consumption shortfalls. These results suggest that although income is an important source of the intergenerational correlation, parental choices and experiences also affect consumption behavior of the children.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Econometric Society in its series Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers with number 1791.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: 01 Aug 2000
Date of revision: 08 Nov 2000
Handle: RePEc:ecm:wc2000:1791

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Keywords: Family; income; tastes; retirement; learning.;

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References

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  1. Skinner, Jonathan, 1987. "A superior measure of consumption from the panel study of income dynamics," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 213-216.
  2. Martin Browning & Annamaria Lusardi, 1995. "Household Saving: Micro Theories and Micro Facts," Department of Economics Working Papers 1995-02, McMaster University.
  3. Kerwin Kofi Charles & Erik Hurst, 2003. "The Correlation of Wealth across Generations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(6), pages 1155-1182, December.
  4. Joseph G. Altonji & Fumio Hayashi & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1993. "Is the Extended Family Altruistically Linked? Direct Tests Using Micro Data," NBER Working Papers 3046, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Andrew B. Abel, . "Asset Prices Under Habit Formation and Catching Up With the Jones," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 01-90, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
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  8. 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.
  9. Hamermesh, Daniel S, 1984. "Consumption during Retirement: The Missing Link in the Life Cycle," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 66(1), pages 1-7, February.
  10. Zimmerman, David J, 1992. "Regression toward Mediocrity in Economic Stature," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 409-29, June.
  11. Solon, Gary, 1992. "Intergenerational Income Mobility in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 393-408, June.
  12. Cox, Donald, 1990. "Intergenerational Transfers and Liquidity Constraints," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(1), pages 187-217, February.
  13. Baker, Michael, 1997. "Growth-Rate Heterogeneity and the Covariance Structure of Life-Cycle Earnings," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(2), pages 338-75, April.
  14. B. Douglas Bernheim & Jonathan Skinner & Steven Weinberg, 1997. "What Accounts for the Variation in Retirement Wealth Among U.S. Households?," NBER Working Papers 6227, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Joseph G. Altonji & Lewis M. Segal, 1994. "Small Sample Bias in GMM Estimation of Covariance Structures," NBER Technical Working Papers 0156, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Behrman, Jere R & Taubman, Paul, 1990. "The Intergenerational Correlation between Children's Adult Earnings and Their Parents' Income: Result from the Michigan Panel Survey of Income Dynamics," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 36(2), pages 115-27, June.
  17. Gary S. Becker & Nigel Tomes, . "Human Capital and the Rise and Fall of Families," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 84-10, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  18. Joseph G. Altonji & Thomas A. Dunn, 1994. "An Intergenerational Model of Wages, Hours and Earnings," NBER Working Papers 4950, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Cox, Donald, 1987. "Motives for Private Income Transfers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 508-46, June.
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