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Understanding Interhousehold Transfers in a Transition Economy: Evidence from Russia

Listed author(s):
  • Kuhn, Randall

    ()

    (University of Colorado, Boulder)

  • Stillman, Steven

    ()

    (Free University of Bozen/Bolzano)

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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File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp574.pdf
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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
Publication status: published in: Economic Development and Cultural Change, 2004, 53 (1), 131-56
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp574
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  1. Schoeni, Robert F, 1997. "Private Interhousehold Transfers of Money and Time: New Empirical Evidence," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 43(4), pages 423-448, December.
  2. Cox, Donald & Jimenez, Emmanuel & Okrasa, Wlodek, 1997. "Family Safety Nets and Economic Transition: A Study of Worker Households in Poland," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 43(2), pages 191-209, June.
  3. Townsend, Robert M, 1994. "Risk and Insurance in Village India," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(3), pages 539-591, May.
  4. Duncan Thomas & Elizabeth Frankenberg & James P. Smith, 2001. "Lost but Not Forgotten: Attrition and Follow-up in the Indonesia Family Life Survey," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 36(3), pages 556-592.
  5. Samuel Preston, 1984. "Children and the elderly: Divergent paths for America’s dependents," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 21(4), pages 435-457, November.
  6. Case, Anne & Deaton, Angus, 1998. "Large Cash Transfers to the Elderly in South Africa," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(450), pages 1330-1361, September.
  7. Lee Lillard & Robert Willis, 1997. "Motives for interqenerational transfers: Evidence from Malaysia," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 34(1), pages 115-134, February.
  8. Cox, Donald, 1987. "Motives for Private Income Transfers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 508-546, June.
  9. Jensen, Robert T. & Richter, Kaspar, 2004. "The health implications of social security failure: evidence from the Russian pension crisis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1-2), pages 209-236, January.
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