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Grey power and public budgets: Family altruism helps children, but not the elderly

  • Rattsø, Jørn
  • Sørensen, Rune J.

The literature on intergenerational conflict and public budgets has shown that the demands of the elderly may crowd out educational spending. We extend this literature to take into account altruism within the family where individuals care about the welfare of family members. The conflicting claims to the public budget will reflect the political strength of age groups, but may also be influenced by whether middle-aged have children or elderly parents in the community. We investigate the role of family altruism using both survey data and demographic and local government budget data in Norway from 1992 to 2004. Family altruism matters for local government spending on primary education, but does not affect spending on old-age care and health services. The old must take care of their own interests themselves.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 26 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 222-234

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Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:26:y:2010:i:2:p:222-234
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505544

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  1. Poterba, James M, 1998. "Demographic Change, Intergenerational Linkages, and Public Education," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 315-20, May.
  2. Harris, Amy Rehder & Evans, William N. & Schwab, Robert M., 2001. "Education spending in an aging America," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(3), pages 449-472, September.
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  12. Casey B. Mulligan & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2003. "Social Security, Retirement, and the Single-Mindedness of the Electorate," NBER Working Papers 9691, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Lars-Erik Borge & Jørn Rattsø, 2008. "Young and Old Competing for Public Welfare Services," CESifo Working Paper Series 2223, CESifo Group Munich.
  14. Breyer, Friedrich, 1994. "The political economy of intergenerational redistribution," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 61-84, May.
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