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Intergenerational Transfers and Household Structure. Why Do Most Italian Youths Live With Their Parents?

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  • Marco Manacorda
  • Enrico Moretti

Abstract

85 percent of Italian men aged 18-33 live with their parents. We argue that Italian parents like to live with their children and a rise in their income makes it possible for them to offer their children higher consumption in exchange for their presence at home. Children prefer to live on their own but are willing to exchange some independence for extra consumption. We formalize this intuition with a bargaining model between parents and children. We test the predictions of the model by estimating the effect of parental income on the probability that children live with their parents. The key econometric issue is the endogeneity of parental income. In order to identify the causal effect of parental income on children's living arrangements we use changes in parents' retirement age induced by the 1992 reform of the Italian social security as an instrument for parental income. By raising retirement age, this reform forced some fathers to remain in the labor market longer than the cohort immediately preceding them, therefore raising their income. Our instrumental variable estimates indicate that a rise in parents' income significantly raises the children's propensity to live at home: a $500 increase in annual parental income results in a 3 to 3.5 percentage point rise in the proportion of children living with their parents.

Suggested Citation

  • Marco Manacorda & Enrico Moretti, 2002. "Intergenerational Transfers and Household Structure. Why Do Most Italian Youths Live With Their Parents?," CEP Discussion Papers dp0536, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0536
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gary S. Becker, 1981. "A Treatise on the Family," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck81-1, January.
    2. Marianne P. Bitler & Jonah B. Gelbach & Hilary W. Hoynes, 2002. "The Impact of Welfare Reform on Living Arrangements," NBER Working Papers 8784, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Fernie, Sue & Gray, Helen, 2002. "It's a family affair: the effect of union recognition and human resource management on the provision of equal opportunities in the UK," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20089, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    4. McElroy, Marjorie B, 1985. "The Joint Determination of Household Membership and Market Work: The Case of Young Men," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(3), pages 293-316, July.
    5. Costa, Dora L, 1997. "Displacing the Family: Union Army Pensions and Elderly Living Arrangements," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(6), pages 1269-1292, December.
    6. Altonji, Joseph G & Hayashi, Fumio & Kotlikoff, Laurence J, 1997. "Parental Altruism and Inter Vivos Transfers: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(6), pages 1121-1166, December.
    7. Deaton, Angus S & Ruiz-Castillo, Javier & Thomas, Duncan, 1989. "The Influence of Household Composition on Household Expenditure Patterns: Theory and Spanish Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(1), pages 179-200, February.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Paola Giuliano, 2007. "Living Arrangements in Western Europe: Does Cultural Origin Matter?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(5), pages 927-952, September.
    2. Vincenzo Galasso & Paola Profeta, 2004. "Lessons for an ageing society: the political sustainability of social security systems," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 19(38), pages 63-115, April.
    3. Lisa Bell & Janet Gornick & Timothy Smeeding & Gary Burtless, 2007. "Failure to Launch: Cross-National Trends in the Transition to Economic Independence," LIS Working papers 456, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Family structure; Living Arrangements; Two-Sample IV;

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions

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