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Transfer Behavior: Measurement and the Redistribution of Resources within the Family

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  • Kathleen McGarry
  • Robert F. Schoeni

Abstract

Recent work by a number of economists has opened a debate about the role played by intergenerational transfers. Using the new Health and Retirement Survey (HRS), we are better able to address the issues involved. Contrary to the current literature on bequests, we do not find that parents give transfers equally to all children. Rather we find that in the case of inter vivos transfers, respondents give greater financial assistance to their less well off children, relative to their children with higher incomes. Financial transfers to elderly parents are also found to be negatively related to the (potential) recipient's income. These results hold both for the incidence of transfers and for the amounts. Additionally, we allow for unobserved differences across families by estimating fixed effect models and find our results to be robust to these specifications. Thus we fail to reject altruism as a possible motivation for transfers. A comparison of the HRS transfer data to other survey data demonstrates that the HRS is potentially quite useful for research on transfer behavior.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4607.

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Date of creation: Jan 1994
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Publication status: published as Journal of Human Resources, 1995
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4607

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  1. 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..
  2. 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.
  3. Joseph G. Altonji & Fumio Hayashi & Laurence Kotlikoff, 1996. "The Effects of Income and Wealth on Time and Money Transfers between Parents and Children," NBER Working Papers 5522, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Andreoni, James, 1989. "Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1447-58, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Ernesto Villanueva, 2002. "Parental altruism under imperfect information: Theory and evidence," Economics Working Papers 650, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  2. Joseph Altonji & Ernesto Villanueva, 2003. "The marginal propensity to spend on adult children," Economics Working Papers 667, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  3. Kathleen McGarry & Robert F. Schoeni, 1995. "Transfer Behavior within the Family: Results from the Asset and Health Dynamics Survey," NBER Working Papers 5099, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Amihai Glazer & Hiroki Kondo, 2010. "Governmental Transfers Can Reduce a Moral Hazard Problem," Working Papers 101102, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
  5. Audrey Light & Kathleen McGarry, 2003. "Why Parents Play Favorites: Explanations for Unequal Bequests," NBER Working Papers 9745, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Rebelein, Robert P., 2005. "Intergenerational Strategic Behavior and Crowding Out in a General Equilibrium Model," Vassar College Department of Economics Working Paper Series 74, Vassar College Department of Economics.
  7. Alan L. Gustman & F. Thomas Juster, 1995. "Income and Wealth of Older American Households: Modeling Issues for Public Policy Analysis," NBER Working Papers 4996, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Kevin Wiseman & Ctirad Slavık, 2009. "Tough Love For Lazy Kids," 2009 Meeting Papers 1091, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  9. Joseph G. Altonji & Fumio Hayashi & Laurence Kotlikoff, . "The Effects of Income and Wealth on Time and MOney Transfers Between Parents and Children," IPR working papers 96-5, Institute for Policy Resarch at Northwestern University.
  10. Jeffrey R. Brown & Courtney C. Coile & Scott J. Weisbenner, 2010. "The Effect of Inheritance Receipt on Retirement," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(2), pages 425-434, May.
  11. Donald Cox & Beth J. Soldo, 2004. "Motivation for Money and Care that Adult Children Provide for Parents: Evidence from "Point-Blank" Survey Questions," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College 2004-17, Center for Retirement Research.

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