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Fairness in the family: implications for parent-adult child interactions

  • Ermisch, John

This paper advances the hypothesis that transfers of contact/in-kind help and money between parents and an adult child reflect concerns for fairness and reciprocity, and may be interpreted as a ‘gift exchange’. It is inspired by recent evidence from experiments that suggests that even strangers behave in accordance with concerns for fairness and reciprocity. The implications of this hypothesis for the relationship between parents’ resources and frequency of contact/in-kind are contrasted with those of efficient exchange and family constitution models of intergenerational transfers. Empirical evidence from the British Household Panel Study provides stronger support for the gift exchange model than the efficient exchange or binding constitution models.

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File URL: https://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/research/publications/working-papers/iser/2006-13.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute for Social and Economic Research in its series ISER Working Paper Series with number 2006-13.

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Date of creation: 01 Apr 2006
Date of revision:
Publication status: published
Handle: RePEc:ese:iserwp:2006-13
Contact details of provider: Postal: Publications Office, Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ UK
Phone: 44-1206-872957
Fax: 44-1206-873151
Web page: https://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/
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Order Information: Postal: Publications Office, Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ UK
Web: https://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/publications/ Email:


References listed on IDEAS
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  1. Ernst Fehr & Armin Falk, 2003. "Wage Rigidity in a Competitive Incomplete Contract Market," Labor and Demography 0305001, EconWPA.
  2. Konrad, Kai A. & Künemund, Harald & Lommerud, Kjell Erik & Robledo, Julio R, 1999. "Geography of the Family," CEPR Discussion Papers 2312, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Cigno, Alessandro, 1993. "Intergenerational transfers without altruism : Family, market and state," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 505-518, November.
  4. Bergstrom, Theodore C, 1989. "A Fresh Look at the Rotten Kid Theorem--and Other Household Mysteries," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1138-59, October.
  5. Shleifer, Andrei & Summers, Lawrence H. & Bernheim, B. Douglas, 1986. "The Strategic Bequest Motive," Scholarly Articles 3721794, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. Ermisch, John & Francesconi, Marco & Siedler, Thomas, 2005. "Intergenerational Economic Mobility and Assortative Mating," IZA Discussion Papers 1847, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Cigno, Alessandro, 2006. "The political economy of intergenerational cooperation," Handbook on the Economics of Giving, Reciprocity and Altruism, Elsevier.
  8. Georg Kirchsteiger & Ernst Fehr & Arno Riedl, 1993. "Does Fairness Prevent Market Clearing? An Experimental Investigation," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/5927, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  9. Solon, Gary, 1999. "Intergenerational mobility in the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 29, pages 1761-1800 Elsevier.
  10. repec:ese:iserwp:2002-06 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Akerlof, George A, 1982. "Labor Contracts as Partial Gift Exchange," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(4), pages 543-69, November.
  12. Ermisch, John & Francesconi, Marco, 2002. "Intergenerational Social Mobility and Assortative Mating in Britain," IZA Discussion Papers 465, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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