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Intergenerational Transfers and the Demonstration Effect

Author

Listed:
  • Donald Cox

    () (Boston College)

  • Oded Stark

    (Harvard University)

Abstract

How can parents secure old-age support in the form of care, attention or financial transfers from their children? We explore the enforcement of implicit intergenerational agreements from a fresh angle by studying the possibility that the child's conduct is conditioned by the parents' example. Parents can take advantage of this learning potential by making transfers to their own parents when children are present to observe such transfers. Parents who desire old-age support have an incentive to behave appropriately. The idea that the parents' behavior is aimed at inculcating desirable behavior in their children generates testable hypotheses about transfers that we investigate using household survey microdata. The demonstration-effect approach also has implications for such diverse phenomena as population aging and the labor market participation of women.

Suggested Citation

  • Donald Cox & Oded Stark, 1996. "Intergenerational Transfers and the Demonstration Effect," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 329., Boston College Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:329
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    File URL: http://fmwww.bc.edu/EC-P/wp329.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Partha Deb & Cagla Okten & Una Osili, 2010. "Giving to family versus giving to the community within and across generations," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 23(3), pages 963-987, June.
    2. Christian Zimmermann, 1999. "Is Menopause Optimal?," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 99, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.
    3. repec:bla:ecorec:v:93:y:2017:i:302:p:395-419 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Arrondel, Luc & Masson, Andre, 2001. " Family Transfers Involving Three Generations," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 103(3), pages 415-443, September.
    5. Jellal, Mohamed & Wolff, Francois-Charles, 2000. "Shaping intergenerational relationships: the demonstration effect," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 255-261, September.
    6. Charles Horioka, 2014. "Are Americans and Indians more altruistic than the Japanese and Chinese? Evidence from a new international survey of bequest plans," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 411-437, September.
    7. Wolff, Francois-Charles & Laferrere, Anne, 2006. "Microeconomic models of family transfers," Handbook on the Economics of Giving, Reciprocity and Altruism, Elsevier.
    8. Bergstrom, Theodore C & Stark, Oded, 1993. "How Altruism Can Prevail in an Evolutionary Environment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 149-155, May.
    9. Paula C. Albuquerque, 2014. "The Interaction of Private Intergenerational Transfers Types," Working Papers Department of Economics 2014/03, ISEG - Lisbon School of Economics and Management, Department of Economics, Universidade de Lisboa.
    10. Cox, Donald & Eser, Zekeriya & Jimenez, Emmanuel, 1998. "Motives for private transfers over the life cycle: An analytical framework and evidence for Peru," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 57-80, February.
    11. Auriol, Emmanuelle & Demonsant, Jean-Luc, 2012. "Education and migration choices in hierarchical societies: The case of Matam, Senegal," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(5), pages 875-889.
    12. Donald Cox & Beth J. Soldo, 2004. "Motivation for Money and Care that Adult Children Provide for Parents: Evidence from "Point-Blank" Survey Questions," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College 2004-17, Center for Retirement Research.
    13. Sumon K. Bhaumik, 2001. "Intergenerational transfers: the ignored role of time," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2001-008, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    14. Ha Trong Nguyen & Luke B. Connelly, 2017. "The Dynamics of Informal Care Provision in an Australian Household Panel Survey: Previous Work Characteristics and Future Care Provision," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 93(302), pages 395-419, September.
    15. Arrondel, Luc & Masson, Andre, 2006. "Altruism, exchange or indirect reciprocity: what do the data on family transfers show?," Handbook on the Economics of Giving, Reciprocity and Altruism, Elsevier.
    16. Francois-Charles Wolff, 2001. "Private intergenerational contact in France and the demonstration effect," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(2), pages 143-153.
    17. Hagen-Zanker, Jessica, 2010. "Modest expectations: Causes and effects of migration on migrant households in source countries," MPRA Paper 29507, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Theodore C. Bergstrom, 1996. "Economics in a Family Way," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(4), pages 1903-1934, December.
    19. Li, Carmen A & Olivera, Javier, 2005. "Participation in the Peruvian reformed pension system," Economics Discussion Papers 3618, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
    20. Mitrut, Andreea & Wolff, François-Charles, 2009. "A causal test of the demonstration effect theory," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 52-54, April.
    21. François-Charles Wolff, 2000. "Les transferts versés aux enfants et aux parents : altruisme ou échange intertemporel?," Économie et Prévision, Programme National Persée, vol. 142(1), pages 67-91.
    22. Jellal, Mohamed & Wolff, Francois-Charles, 2002. "Cultural evolutionary altruism: theory and evidence," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 241-262, June.
    23. Cigno, Alessandro & C. Giannelli, Gianna & Rosati, Furio C., 1998. "Voluntary transfers among Italian households: altruistic and non-altruistic explanations," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 435-451, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Demonstration effect; private transfers; altruism; elderly support; fertility; inculcation; family values;

    JEL classification:

    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy

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