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Understanding Interhousehold Transfers in a Transition Economy: Evidence from Russia

  • Kuhn, Randall

    ()

    (University of Colorado, Boulder)

  • Stillman, Steven

    ()

    (University of Otago)

This paper uses data from the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey to describe and model the determinants of interhousehold transfers. Russian households have experienced large reductions in income during the post-Soviet transition period, with a particularly severe decline occurring in the fall of 1998. Sharply declining fertility, increasing mortality, and past demographic catastrophes has left a population which is both young (few elderly) and old (one of the oldest working-age populations in the world). Informal networks in Russia are likely to take on distinctive characteristics as the country’s economic institutions are underdeveloped and there is a very limited social safety net, while household structure closely resembles that found in much wealthier countries. Although it is often assumed that the elderly in Russia are a highly vulnerable economic group, we actually find that transfers flow strongly from the elderly to their adult children, whom are typically in the early part of the life-course (i.e. in school, starting to work, or recently married). This is especially true for the elderly in rural areas. While households with higher longer-term resources receive on net more transfers, we also find strong evidence that transfers respond to economic needs (i.e. transitory fluctuations in resources).

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 574.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2002
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Economic Development and Cultural Change, 2004, 53 (1), 131-56
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp574
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