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Parents' Desire to Make Equal Inter Vivos Transfers

  • Elin Halvorsen
  • Thor O. Thoresen

This study argues that parents have a desire for dividing equally between their children, and that this motive applies to transfers of gifts inter vivos. We suggest that the equal division motive competes with traditional altruism: support to the child or the children with greatest needs. When parents are drawn between these two ambitions, the degree of income compensation should be stronger in one-child families and we expect the altruism motive to dominate the equal division desire at low levels of recipients' income. We find support for both these hypotheses, when analyzing Norwegian data for inter vivos transfers behavior. The data include information about stated attitudes toward transfers among the parents, which also support the equal division motive. (JEL codes: D64, D91, H21) Copyright The Author 2010. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Ifo Institute for Economic Research, Munich. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email:, Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by CESifo in its journal CESifo Economic Studies.

Volume (Year): 57 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 121-155

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Handle: RePEc:oup:cesifo:v:57:y:2011:i:1:p:121-155
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