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A Mixed-Motives Model of Private Transfers with Subjectively-Assessed Recipient Need: Evidence from a Poor, Transfer-Dependent Economy

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Abstract

We extend the mixed-motives model of transfer derivatives developed by Cox et al (2004) introducing subjectively-assessed recipient need in place of an absolute income threshold at which the donor’s dominant motive switches from altruism to exchange. This refinement provides a theoretically justifiable threshold amenable to empirical measurement. We test the extended model with customized survey data from Tonga and find evidence consistent with Cox et al in support of altruism for households below the threshold, but, we also find a positive, exchange-motivated relationship for those above the threshold. We conclude that either crowding-out or crowding-in of private transfers can occur when the recipient’s welfare improves, depending on the household’s pre-transfer welfare level. This also has implications for the distributional impact of private transfers and could explain why poverty reduction can be accompanied by increased income inequality.

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  • Richard P.C. Brown & Eliana V. Jimenez, 2008. "A Mixed-Motives Model of Private Transfers with Subjectively-Assessed Recipient Need: Evidence from a Poor, Transfer-Dependent Economy," Discussion Papers Series 365, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
  • Handle: RePEc:qld:uq2004:365
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    1. Fafchamps, Marcel & Shilpi, Forhad, 2008. "Subjective welfare, isolation, and relative consumption," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 43-60, April.
    2. Blanchflower, David G. & Oswald, Andrew J., 2004. "Well-being over time in Britain and the USA," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1359-1386, July.
    3. Cox, Donald & Hansen, Bruce E. & Jimenez, Emmanuel, 2004. "How responsive are private transfers to income? Evidence from a laissez-faire economy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 2193-2219, August.
    4. Kaufmann, Daniel & Lindauer, David L., 1986. "A model of income transfers for the urban poor," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 337-350.
    5. 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 1177-1198, December.
    6. Cox, Donald & Fafchamps, Marcel, 2008. "Extended Family and Kinship Networks: Economic Insights and Evolutionary Directions," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier.
    7. John Gibson & Susan Olivia & Scott Rozelle, 2006. "How Widespread are Non-linear Crowding Out Out Effects? The Response of Private Transfers to Income in Four Developing Countries," Working Papers in Economics 06/01, University of Waikato.
    8. John Gibson & David McKenzie & Halahingano Rohorua, 2006. "How Cost Elastic are Remittances? Estimates from Tongan Migrants in New Zealand," Working Papers in Economics 06/02, University of Waikato.
    9. Kazianga, H., 2006. "Motives for household private transfers in Burkina Faso," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 73-117, February.
    10. Cox, Donald & Eser, Zekeriya & Jimenez, Emmanuel, 1998. "Motives for private transfers over the life cycle: An analytical framework and evidence for Peru," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 57-80, February.
    11. Krishna, Anirudh, 2004. "Escaping Poverty and Becoming Poor: Who Gains, Who Loses, and Why?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 121-136, January.
    12. Cox, Donald, 1987. "Motives for Private Income Transfers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 508-546, June.
    13. Easterlin, Richard A., 1995. "Will raising the incomes of all increase the happiness of all?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 35-47, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Eliana V. Jimenez & Richard P.C. Brown, 2008. "Assessing the poverty impacts of remittances with alternative counterfactual income estimates," Discussion Papers Series 375, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.

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