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Intergenerational Transfers and the Demonstration Effect

  • Donald Cox

    ()

    (Boston College)

  • Oded Stark

    (Harvard University)

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.

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Paper provided by Boston College Department of Economics in its series Boston College Working Papers in Economics with number 329..

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: 01 Jan 1996
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:329
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  1. Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1992. "Economic Exchange and Support Within U.S. Families," NBER Working Papers 4080, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  3. CREMER, Helmuth & PESTIEAU, Pierre, . "Bequests, filial attention and fertility," CORE Discussion Papers RP -949, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  4. Tomes, Nigel, 1981. "The Family, Inheritance, and the Intergenerational Transmission of Inequality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 928-58, October.
  5. 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.
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  7. Becker, Gary S, 1988. "Family Economics and Macro Behavior," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(1), pages 1-13, March.
  8. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy, . "The Family and the State," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 87-15, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  9. Gary S. Becker, 1991. "Habits, Addictions, and Traditions," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 71, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  10. Ted Bergstrom & Oded Stark, . "How Altruism Can Prevail in an Evolutionary Environment," Papers _024, University of Michigan, Department of Economics.
  11. Elster, Jon, 1989. "Social Norms and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 99-117, Fall.
  12. Bernheim, B Douglas & Stark, Oded, 1988. "Altruism within the Family Reconsidered: Do Nice Guys Finish Last?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(5), pages 1034-45, December.
  13. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & Avia Spivak, 1979. "The Family as an Incomplete Annuities Market," UCLA Economics Working Papers 151, UCLA Department of Economics.
  14. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy, 1986. "A Theory of Rational Addiction," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 41, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  15. Schultz, T.P., 1990. "Testing The Neoclassical Model Of Family Labor Supply And Fertility," Papers 601, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  16. Heien, Dale & Durham, Cathy, 1991. "A Test of the Habit Formation Hypothesis Using Household Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(2), pages 189-99, May.
  17. Ehrlich, Isaac & Lui, Francis T, 1991. "Intergenerational Trade, Longevity, and Economic Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 1029-59, October.
  18. Hoddinott, John, 1992. "Rotten Kids or Manipulative Parents: Are Children Old Age Security in Western Kenya?," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 40(3), pages 545-65, April.
  19. Becker, Gary S, 1993. "Nobel Lecture: The Economic Way of Looking at Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 385-409, June.
  20. Joan Kahn & Kay Anderson, 1992. "Intergenerational patterns of teenage fertility," Demography, Springer, vol. 29(1), pages 39-57, February.
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  23. Lucas, Robert E B & Stark, Oded, 1985. "Motivations to Remit: Evidence from Botswana," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(5), pages 901-18, October.
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