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Borrowing constraints and two-sided altruism with an application to social security

  • Altig, David
  • Davis, Steven J.

We develop the implications of borrowing constraints and two-sided altruism in an overlapping generations framework with agents who live three periods. Our analysis identifies six equilibrium patterns of intertemporal and intergenerational linkages in the no-loan economy, one of which corresponds to the traditional lifecycle model, and one of which corresponds to Barro's dynastic model. Novel linkage patterns involve parent-to-child transfers early in the life cycle, child-to-parent gifts late in the life cycle, or both. Capital accumulation behavior and the consequences of fiscal policy interventions depend, often critically, on which linkage patterns prevails. We show how unfunded social security interventions can significantly depress aggregate capital accumulation, even when every generation is linked to its successor generation by altruistic transfers. We also derive a non-Ricardian neutrality result for gift-motive economies that holds whether or not borrowing constraints bind and whether or not parent and child are connected by an operative altruism motive at all points in the life cycle.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control.

Volume (Year): 17 (1993)
Issue (Month): 3 (May)
Pages: 467-494

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Handle: RePEc:eee:dyncon:v:17:y:1993:i:3:p:467-494
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  1. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Assaf Razin & Robert W. Rosenthal, 1988. "A Strategic Altruism Model In Which Ricardian Equivalence Does Not Hold," NBER Working Papers 2699, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," NBER Working Papers 0042, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Feldstein, Martin S, 1974. "Social Security, Induced Retirement, and Aggregate Capital Accumulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(5), pages 905-26, Sept./Oct.
  4. Guiso, Luigi & Jappelli, Tullio, 1991. "Intergenerational transfers and capital market imperfections : Evidence from a cross-section of Italian households," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 103-120, January.
  5. Cox, Donald, 1990. "Intergenerational Transfers and Liquidity Constraints," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(1), pages 187-217, February.
  6. Neil Bruce & Michael Waldman, 1986. "The Rotten-Kid Theorem Meets the Samaritan's Dilemma," UCLA Economics Working Papers 402, UCLA Department of Economics.
  7. Bernheim, B Douglas & Bagwell, Kyle, 1988. "Is Everything Neutral?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(2), pages 308-38, April.
  8. Zeldes, Stephen P, 1989. "Consumption and Liquidity Constraints: An Empirical Investigation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(2), pages 305-46, April.
  9. Donald Cox & Fredric Raines, 1985. "Interfamily Transfers and Income Redistribution," NBER Chapters, in: Horizontal Equity, Uncertainty, and Economic Well-Being, pages 393-426 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Kimball, Miles S., 1987. "Making sense of two-sided altruism," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 301-326, September.
  11. David Altig & Steve J. Davis, 1991. "The Timing of Intergenerational Transfers, Tax Policy, and Aggregate Savings," NBER Working Papers 3753, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. 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..
  13. Jappelli, Tullio, 1990. "Who Is Credit Constrained in the U.S. Economy?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(1), pages 219-34, February.
  14. Lindbeck, Assar & Weibull, Jorgen W, 1988. "Altruism and Time Consistency: The Economics of Fait Accompli," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(6), pages 1165-82, December.
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