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Parental Altruism and Inter Vivos Transfers: Theory and Evidence

  • Altonji, Joseph G
  • Hayashi, Fumio
  • Kotlikoff, Laurence J

This paper uses Panel Study of Income Dynamics data on the extended family to test whether inter vivos transfers from parents to children are motivated by altruism. Specifically, the paper tests whether an increase by one dollar in the income of parents actively making transfers to a child coupled with a one-dollar reduction in that child's income results in a one-dollar increase in the parents' transfer to the child. The authors find that redistributing one dollar from a recipient child to donor parents leads to less than a thirteen-cent increase in the transfer--far less than the one-dollar increase implied by altruism. Copyright 1997 by the University of Chicago.

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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 105 (1997)
Issue (Month): 6 (December)
Pages: 1121-66

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:105:y:1997:i:6:p:1121-66
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JPE/

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  1. Cox, Donald, 1987. "Motives for Private Income Transfers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 508-46, June.
  2. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Avia Spivak, 1979. "The Family as an Incomplete Annuities Market," UCLA Economics Working Papers 151, UCLA Department of Economics.
  3. Barro, Robert J., 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Scholarly Articles 3451399, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Bernheim, B Douglas & Shleifer, Andrei & Summers, Lawrence H, 1986. "The Strategic Bequest Motive," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(3), pages S151-82, July.
  5. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," NBER Working Papers 0042, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Altonji, Joseph G & Hayashi, Fumio & Kotlikoff, Laurence J, 1992. "Is the Extended Family Altruistically Linked? Direct Tests Using Micro Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1177-98, December.
  7. Ted Bergstrom, 1995. "A Survey of Theories of the Family," Papers _027, University of Michigan, Department of Economics.
  8. Blinder, Alan S, 1976. "Intergenerational Transfers and Life Cycle Consumption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 87-93, May.
  9. Altig, David & Davis, Steven J, 1992. "The Timing of Intergenerational Transfers, Tax Policy, and Aggregate Savings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1199-220, December.
  10. Menchik, Paul L, 1980. "Primogeniture, Equal Sharing, and the U. S. Distribution of Wealth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 94(2), pages 299-316, March.
  11. W. G. Gale & J. K. Scholz, . "Intergenerational transfers and the accumulation of wealth," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1019-93, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  12. Cox, Donald & Rank, Mark R, 1992. "Inter-vivos Transfers and Intergenerational Exchange," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(2), pages 305-14, May.
  13. Fumio Hayashi, 1995. "Is the Japanese Extended Family Altruistically Linked? A Test based on Engel Curves," NBER Working Papers 5033, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Drazen, Allan, 1978. "Government Debt, Human Capital, and Bequests in a Life-Cycle Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(3), pages 505-16, June.
  15. Pollak, Robert A, 1985. "A Transaction Cost Approach to Families and Households," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 23(2), pages 581-608, June.
  16. Kotlikoff, Laurence J & Razin, Assaf & Rosenthal, Robert W, 1990. "A Strategic Altruism Model in Which Ricardian Equivalence Does Not Hold," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(403), pages 1261-68, December.
  17. Sebastian Edwards & Miguel Savastano, 1988. "Latin America's Intraregional Trade: Evolution and Future Prospects," NBER Working Papers 2738, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. IOANNIDES , Yannis & KAN , Kamhon, 1994. "The Nature of Two-Direction Intergenerational Transfers of Money and Time : An Empirical Analysis," CORE Discussion Papers 1994033, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  19. Blundell, Richard & Meghir, Costas, 1987. "Bivariate alternatives to the Tobit model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1-2), pages 179-200.
  20. Cox, Donald, 1990. "Intergenerational Transfers and Liquidity Constraints," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(1), pages 187-217, February.
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