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

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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Paper provided by School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia in its series Discussion Papers Series with number 365.

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Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:qld:uq2004:365
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  1. Joseph G. Altonji & Fumio Hayashi & Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1989. "Is the Extended Family Altruistically Linked? Direct Tests Using Micro Data," NBER Working Papers 3046, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Kazianga, H., 2006. "Motives for household private transfers in Burkina Faso," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 73-117, February.
  3. Marcel Fafchamps & Forhad Shilpi, 2006. "Subjective Welfare, Isolation, and Relative Consumption," Economics Series Working Papers GPRG-WPS-056, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  4. 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.
  5. 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, Department of Economics.
  6. Donald Cox & Zekeriya Eser & Emmanuel Jimenez, 1996. "Motives for Private Transfers over the Life Cycle: An Analytical Framework and Evidence for Peru," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 327., Boston College Department of Economics.
  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, Department of Economics.
  8. Cox, Donald & Fafchamps, Marcel, 2008. "Extended Family and Kinship Networks: Economic Insights and Evolutionary Directions," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier.
  9. Krishna, Anirudh, 2004. "Escaping Poverty and Becoming Poor: Who Gains, Who Loses, and Why?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 121-136, January.
  10. Donald Cox & Bruce E. Hansen & Emmanuel Jimenez, 1997. "How Responsive are Private Transfers to Income? Evidence from a Laissez-Faire Economy," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 341., Boston College Department of Economics, revised 01 Dec 1999.
  11. Cox, Donald, 1987. "Motives for Private Income Transfers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 508-46, June.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
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