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Thankworthy Parental Altruism and Childrenfs Habit-Formation

  • Lin Zhang
  • Shinsuke Ikeda

We propose a model of parental altruism in relation with child habit formation, where children are unaware of their developing habits while young, and become cognizant of them only on growing up. We show that an altruistic mother (i) maintains the amount of income transferred to her child lower than the child would desire and (ii) reduces further income transfer upon an exogenous increase in the childfs performance of a particular habit. The child, when grown, may end up grateful for the small income transfer if the mother is sufficiently rich and altruistic: when evaluated by the realized habitual preferences, a small income transfer leads to greater child welfare than the greater income transfer preferred by the child would have generated. This implies that parents from richer families, ceteris paribus, tend to guard against their childrenfs profligacy.

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Paper provided by Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University in its series ISER Discussion Paper with number 0890.

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Date of creation: Nov 2013
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Handle: RePEc:dpr:wpaper:0890
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  1. Christopher Chabris & David Laibson & Carrie Morris & Jonathon Schuldt & Dmitry Taubinsky, 2008. "Individual laboratory-measured discount rates predict field behavior," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 237-269, December.
  2. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," NBER Working Papers 0042, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Webley, Paul & Nyhus, Ellen K., 2006. "Parents' influence on children's future orientation and saving," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 140-164, February.
  4. Karen E. Dynan, 2000. "Habit Formation in Consumer Preferences: Evidence from Panel Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 391-406, June.
  5. Bruce A. Weinberg, 2001. "An Incentive Model of the Effect of Parental Income on Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(2), pages 266-280, April.
  6. Maurice Obstfeld, 1989. "Intertemporal Dependence, Impatience, and Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 3028, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Vipul Bhatt & Masao Ogaki, 2012. "Tough Love And Intergenerational Altruism," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 53(3), pages 791-814, 08.
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