IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

On the Demand for Grandchildren: Tied Transfers and the Demonstration Effect

  • Cox, Donald

    (Department of Economics, Boston College)

  • Stark, Oded

    (University of Bonn)

Most private giving between living generations takes the form of "tied" transfers, such as help with housing downpayments. We argue that parents provide help with downpayments in order to encourage the production of grandchildren, and that such a subsidization emanates from the "demonstration effect:" a child's propensity to furnish parents with attention and care can be conditioned by parental example. Parents who desire such transfers in the future have an incentive to make transfers to their own parents in order to instill appropriate preferences in their children. This generates a derived demand for grandchildren since potential grandparents will be treated better by their adult children if the latter have their own children to whom to demonstrate the appropriate behavior. Empirical work, based on waves 1 and 2 of the National Survey of Families and Households, indicates behavior consistent with subsidization of the production of grandchildren and the demonstration effect.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
File Function: First version, 2004
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Institute for Advanced Studies in its series Economics Series with number 158.

in new window

Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: May 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ihs:ihsesp:158
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Josefstädterstr. 39, A-1080 Vienna, Austria

Phone: ++43 - (0)1 - 599 91 - 0
Fax: ++43 - (0)1 - 599 91 - 555
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Postal: Institute for Advanced Studies - Library, Josefstädterstr. 39, A-1080 Vienna, Austria

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Bergstrom, Theodore C & Stark, Oded, 1993. "How Altruism Can Prevail in an Evolutionary Environment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 149-55, May.
  2. Theodore C. Bergstrom, 1995. "Economics in a Family Way," Labor and Demography 9507002, EconWPA, revised 06 Feb 1996.
  3. Becker, G.S., 1991. "Habits, Addictions, and Traditions," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 91-8, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
  4. Engelhardt, Gary V. & Mayer, Christopher J., 1998. "Intergenerational Transfers, Borrowing Constraints, and Saving Behavior: Evidence from the Housing Market," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 135-157, July.
  5. Ehrenberg, Ronald G, 1977. "Household Allocation of Time and Religiosity: Replication and Extension," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(2), pages 415-23, April.
  6. Ioannides, Yannis M., 1987. "Residential mobility and housing tenure choice," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 265-287.
  7. Donald Cox, 1990. "Intergenerational Transfers and Liquidity Constraints," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(1), pages 187-217.
  8. Shleifer, Andrei & Summers, Lawrence H. & Bernheim, B. Douglas, 1986. "The Strategic Bequest Motive," Scholarly Articles 3721794, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. Neil Bruce & Michael Waldman, 1988. "Transfers in Kind: Why They Can Be Efficient and Non-Paternalistic," UCLA Economics Working Papers 532, UCLA Department of Economics.
  10. Joan Kahn & Kay Anderson, 1992. "Intergenerational patterns of teenage fertility," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 29(1), pages 39-57, February.
  11. Artle, Roland & Varaiya, Pravin, 1978. "Life cycle consumption and homeownership," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 38-58, June.
  12. Francois-Charles Wolff, 2001. "Private intergenerational contact in France and the demonstration effect," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(2), pages 143-153.
  13. Andreoni, James, 1989. "Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1447-58, December.
  14. Becker, Gary S, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1063-93, Nov.-Dec..
  15. Tsuneo Ishikawa, 1974. "Imperfection in the Capital Market and the Institutional Arrangement of Inheritance," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(3), pages 383-404.
  16. Laurence J. Kotlikoff & John N. Morris, 1989. "How Much Care Do the Aged Receive from Their Children? A Bimodal Picture of Contact and Assistance," NBER Chapters, in: The Economics of Aging, pages 151-176 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Fumio Hayashi, 1985. "The Effect of Liquidity Constraints on Consumption: A Cross-Sectional Analysis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(1), pages 183-206.
  18. Becker, Gary S & Murphy, Kevin M, 1988. "The Family and the State," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(1), pages 1-18, April.
  19. Zeldes, Stephen P, 1989. "Consumption and Liquidity Constraints: An Empirical Investigation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(2), pages 305-46, April.
  20. Pollak, Robert A, 1988. "Tied Transfers and Paternalistic Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 240-44, May.
  21. Guiso, Luigi & Jappelli, Tullio, 1998. "Private Transfers, Borrowing Constraints and the Timing of Homeownership," CEPR Discussion Papers 2050, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  22. Henderson, J Vernon & Ionnides, Yannis M, 1986. "Tenure Choice and the Demand for Housing," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 53(210), pages 231-46, May.
  23. Mervyn A. King & Louis Dicks-Mireaux, 1981. "Asset Holdings and the Life Cycle," NBER Working Papers 0614, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Heien, Dale & Durham, Cathy, 1991. "A Test of the Habit Formation Hypothesis Using Household Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(2), pages 189-99, May.
  25. Bernheim, B Douglas & Stark, Oded, 1988. "Altruism within the Family Reconsidered: Do Nice Guys Finish Last?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(5), pages 1034-45, December.
  26. Gary V. Engelhardt & Christopher J. Mayer, 1994. "Gifts for home purchase and housing market behavior," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue May, pages 47-58.
  27. Liliana E. Pezzin & Peter Kemper & James Reschovsky, 1996. "Does Publicly Provided Home Care Substitute for Family Care? Experimental Evidence with Endogenous Living Arrangements," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(3), pages 650-676.
  28. Cox, Donald, 1987. "Motives for Private Income Transfers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 508-46, June.
  29. L. Wade, 1988. "Review," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 58(1), pages 99-100, July.
  30. King, M A & Dicks-Mireaux, L-D L, 1982. "Asset Holdings and the Life-Cycle," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(366), pages 247-67, June.
  31. Smith, Richard J & Blundell, Richard W, 1986. "An Exogeneity Test for a Simultaneous Equation Tobit Model with an Application to Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 679-85, May.
  32. Azzi, Corry & Ehrenberg, Ronald G, 1975. "Household Allocation of Time and Church Attendance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(1), pages 27-56, February.
  33. 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.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ihs:ihsesp:158. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Doris Szoncsitz)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.