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Self--enforcing Intergenerational Transfers and the Provision of Education


  • Dan Anderberg

    (University of Stirling)

  • Alessandro Balestrino

    (University of Pisa)


This paper considers intra--family financing of human capital under the assumptions that individuals are selfish and binding contracts are not feasible. Cooperation among family members is possible through a family norm (a family "social capital") which prescribes the obligations to be met at each stage in life and sanctions for those who deviate. We characterize the set of self--enforcing transfers and show that there is a downward bias in the family provision of education. This gives a rationale for public action as a remedy to the lack of commitment between selfish family members. Copyright The London School of Economics and Political Science 2003

Suggested Citation

  • Dan Anderberg & Alessandro Balestrino, 2003. "Self--enforcing Intergenerational Transfers and the Provision of Education," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 70(277), pages 55-71, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:econom:v:70:y:2003:i:277:p:55-71

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy & Robert Tamura, 1994. "Human Capital, Fertility, and Economic Growth," NBER Chapters,in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition), pages 323-350 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    20. Balestrino, Alessandro, 1997. "Education policy in a non-altruistic model of intergenerational transfers with endogenous fertility," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 157-169, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Balestrino, Alessandro & Ciardi, Cinzia, 2008. "Social norms, cognitive dissonance and the timing of marriage," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(6), pages 2399-2410, December.
    2. Alessandro Balestrino & Lisa Grazzini & Annalisa Luporini, 2017. "A normative justification of compulsory education," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 30(2), pages 537-567, April.
    3. Wolff, Francois-Charles, 2006. "Microeconomic models of family transfers," Handbook on the Economics of Giving, Reciprocity and Altruism, Elsevier.
    4. Arrondel, Luc & Masson, Andre, 2006. "Altruism, exchange or indirect reciprocity: what do the data on family transfers show?," Handbook on the Economics of Giving, Reciprocity and Altruism, Elsevier.
    5. Alessandro Cigno & Mizuki Komura & Annalisa Luporini, 2017. "Self-enforcing family rules, marriage and the (non)neutrality of public intervention," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 30(3), pages 805-834, July.
    6. Wildman, John & Hollingsworth, Bruce, 2009. "Blood donation and the nature of altruism," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 492-503, March.
    7. Raut, Lakshmi K. & Tran, Lien H., 2005. "Parental human capital investment and old-age transfers from children: Is it a loan contract or reciprocity for Indonesian families?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(2), pages 389-414, August.
    8. Xu, Zeyu, 2007. "A survey on intra-household models and evidence," MPRA Paper 3763, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Gradstein, Mark, 2010. "Social Insurance, Education, and Work Ethics," CEPR Discussion Papers 7838, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Haizhen Mou & Stanley L. Winer, 2012. "Fiscal Incidence when both Individual Welfare and Family Structure Matter: The Case of Subsidization of Home-Care for the Elderly," CESifo Working Paper Series 3731, CESifo Group Munich.
    11. repec:eee:joecag:v:4:y:2014:i:c:p:8-23 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Dan Anderberg & Alessandro Balestrino, 2007. "Non-cooperative Households and the Size and Composition of Public Expenditure," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 61-81, January.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • H22 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Incidence
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education


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