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Intergenerational Linkages in Consumption Behavior

  • Donald Cox

    ()

    (Boston College)

  • Serena Ng

    ()

    (Boston College)

  • Andreas Waldkirch

    ()

    (Boston College)

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 children¹s 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.

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Paper provided by Econometric Society in its series Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers with number 1791.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: 01 Aug 2000
Date of revision: 08 Nov 2000
Handle: RePEc:ecm:wc2000:1791
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  1. Andrew B. Abel, . "Asset Prices Under Habit Formation and Catching Up With the Jones," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 01-90, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
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  4. B. Douglas Bernheim & Jonathan Skinner & Steven Weinberg, 1997. "What Accounts for the Variation in Retirement Wealth Among U.S. Households?," NBER Working Papers 6227, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  9. Solon, Gary, 1992. "Intergenerational Income Mobility in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 393-408, June.
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  13. Altonji, Joseph G & Hayashi, Fumio & Kotlikoff, Laurence J, 1992. "Is the Extended Family Altruistically Linked? Direct Tests Using Micro Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1177-98, December.
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  19. Zimmerman, David J, 1992. "Regression toward Mediocrity in Economic Stature," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 409-29, June.
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