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Family Transfers Involving Three Generations

  • Arrondel, Luc
  • Masson, Andre

Most models of family transfers consider only two generations and focus on two motives: altruism and exchange. They also assume perfect substitution between inter-vivos downward transfers and bequests. Based on French evidence, we show that parent-to-child transfers belong to three distinct categories (investment in child's education, financial assistance, wealth transmission), and advocate a three-generation framework. Thus, transfer behavior of parents toward their children is strongly influenced by the behavior of their own parents. There is also some evidence of the Cox and Stark demonstration effect: parents help their own parents, expecting to receive comparable support from their children. Such behavior can be regarded as indirect reciprocity: the beneficiary does not give back to the initial giver but to a third person of another generation. Copyright 2001 by The editors of the Scandinavian Journal of Economics.

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Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Scandinavian Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 103 (2001)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 415-43

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Handle: RePEc:bla:scandj:v:103:y:2001:i:3:p:415-43
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  1. Joseph G. Altonji & Fumio Hayashi & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1995. "Parental Altruism and Inter Vivos Transfers: Theory and Evidence," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 65, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  2. Arrondel, L. & Masson, A. & Pestieau, P., . "Bequests and inheritance: empirical issues and France-U.S. comparison," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1274, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  3. Shleifer, Andrei & Summers, Lawrence H. & Bernheim, B. Douglas, 1986. "The Strategic Bequest Motive," Scholarly Articles 3721794, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy, . "The Family and the State," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 87-15, Chicago - Population Research Center.
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  7. André Masson, 1999. "Quelle solidarité intergénérationnelle ?," Revue Française d'Économie, Programme National Persée, vol. 14(1), pages 27-90.
  8. Masson, A. & Pestieau, P., . "Bequests motives and models of inheritance: A survey of the literature," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1273, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
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  10. Arrondel, Luc & Masson, Andre, 2001. " Family Transfers Involving Three Generations," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 103(3), pages 415-43, September.
  11. Modigliani, Franco, 1988. "The Role of Intergenerational Transfers and Life Cycle Saving in the Accumulation of Wealth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 15-40, Spring.
  12. Barro, Robert J., 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Scholarly Articles 3451399, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  13. François-Charles Wolff & Luc Arrondel, 1998. "La nature des transferts inter vivos en France : investissements humains, aides financières et transmission du patrimoine," Économie et Prévision, Programme National Persée, vol. 135(4), pages 1-27.
  14. 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.
  15. Arrondel, Luc & Laferrere, Anne, 2001. "Taxation and wealth transmission in France," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 3-33, January.
  16. Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1987. "Intergenerational Transfers and Savings," NBER Working Papers 2237, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Hochguertel , Stefan & Ohlsson, Henry, 2000. "Compensatory inter vivos gifts," Working Papers in Economics 31, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  18. Kessler, Denis & Masson, Andre, 1989. "Bequest and Wealth Accumulation: Are Some Pieces of the Puzzle Missing?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 141-52, Summer.
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  22. 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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