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Parent-Child Bargaining, Parental Transfers, and the Postsecondary Education Decision

  • Charlene M Kalenkoski

Economic models of schooling decisions are largely unitary preference in nature. They ignore parent-child conflict, with parents often acting as the sole decisionmaker. In this paper, a theoretical model is formulated in which parents and child participate in cooperative bargaining as a means of resolving disagreements. The model’s implications are compared to those of the unitary preference model, motivating tests of parental altruism and income pooling. Reduced form equations for years of postsecondary schooling and transfers are estimated, both for the full sample and for subsamples defined by type of disagreement, using student-level data from the National Center for Education Statistics’ High School and Beyond Surveys. While income pooling is rejected only for the group of students who prefer more schooling than their parents, parental altruism is rejected for all groups. A major finding is that parent-child disagreement is an important determinant of the level of financial support parents provide.

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Paper provided by Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau in its series Working Papers with number 02-13.

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Date of creation: May 2002
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Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:02-13
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