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Is there such a thing as a family constitution? A test based on credit rationing

  • Alessandro Cigno

    ()

  • Gianna Giannelli
  • Furio Rosati
  • Daniela Vuri

    ()

The paper tests the hypothesis that private transfers can be explained by the existence of self-enforcing family constitutions prescribing the minimum level at which a person in middle life should support her young children and elderly parents. The test is based on the effect of a binding credit ration on the probability of making a money transfer, which can be positive only in the presence of family constitutions. Allowing for the possible endogeneity of the credit ration, we find that rationing has a positive effect on the probability of giving money if the potential giver is under the age of retirement, but no significant effect if the person is already retired. This appears to reject the hypothesis that transfer behavior is the outcome of unfettered individual optimization on the part of either altruistic or exchange motivated agents, but not the one that individuals optimize subject to a self-enforcing family constitution. The policy implications are briefly discussed. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11150-006-0010-7
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Article provided by Springer in its journal Review of Economics of the Household.

Volume (Year): 4 (2006)
Issue (Month): 3 (09)
Pages: 183-204

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Handle: RePEc:kap:reveho:v:4:y:2006:i:3:p:183-204
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=109451

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  1. Joseph G. Altonji & Fumio Hayashi & Laurence Kotlikoff, 1995. "Parental Altruism and Inter Vivos Transfers: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 5378, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Cox, Donald, 1987. "Motives for Private Income Transfers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 508-46, June.
  3. Alessandro Cigno, 2006. "A constitutional theory of the family," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 19(2), pages 259-283, June.
  4. Cigno, Alessandro & Rosati, Furio C., 1996. "Jointly determined saving and fertility behaviour: Theory, and estimates for Germany, Italy, UK and USA," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(8), pages 1561-1589, November.
  5. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521663731 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Cigno, Alessandro & Rosati, Furio Camillo, 1992. "The Effects of Financial Markets and Social Security on Saving and Fertility Behaviour in Italy," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 319-41.
  7. Frank A. Sloan & Jingshu Wang & Harold H. Zhang, 2002. "Upstream Intergenerational Transfers," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 69(2), pages 363-380, October.
  8. Cigno, Alessandro & Camillio Rosati, Furio, 1997. "Rise and fall of the Japanese saving rate: The role of social security and intra-family transfers," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 81-92, March.
  9. Guttman, Joel M., 2001. "Self-enforcing reciprocity norms and intergenerational transfers: theory and evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 117-151, July.
  10. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," NBER Working Papers 0042, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Alessandro Cigno & Luca Casolaro & Furio C. Rosati, 2002. "The Impact of Social Security on Saving and Fertility in Germany," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 59(2), pages 189-, May.
  12. Mark Rosenzweig & Andrew D. Foster, 1996. "Financial Intermediation, Transfers and Commitment: Do Banks Crowd Out Private Insurance Arrangements in Low-Income Rural Areas?," Home Pages _079, University of Pennsylvania.
  13. Rosati, Furio Camillo, 1996. "Social security in a non-altruistic model with uncertainty and endogenous fertility," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 283-294, May.
  14. Cox, Donald & Jakubson, George, 1995. "The connection between public transfers and private interfamily transfers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 129-167, May.
  15. Cigno, Alessandro, 1993. "Intergenerational transfers without altruism : Family, market and state," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 505-518, November.
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