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Intergenerational Linkages in Consumption Behavior

Author

Listed:
  • Donald Cox

    (Boston College)

  • Serena Ng

    (Boston College)

  • Andreas Waldkirch

    (Boston College)

Abstract

Consumption is partly a social activity, yet most studies of consumer behavior treat households in isolation. We investigate familial relationships in consumption patterns using a sample of parents and their children from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. We find a positive and statistically significant parent-specific effect on children's consumption even after controlling for the effect of parental income, and we find similar effects for sibling pairs. Child consumption responds negatively to large post-retirement shortfalls in consumption of the parents. This behavior holds up even after allowing for the possibility of smaller parent-to-child transfers made necessary by the parental consumption shortfalls. These results suggest that although income is an important source of the intergenerational correlation, parental choices and experiences also affect consumption behavior of the children.

Suggested Citation

  • Donald Cox & Serena Ng & Andreas Waldkirch, 2000. "Intergenerational Linkages in Consumption Behavior," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 482, Boston College Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:482
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Family; income; tastes; retirement; learning.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D10 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - General
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies

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