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Support Networks within the Family As a Public Good Problem

  • Robert F. Schoeni

his paper examines altruism and exchange models of familial relationships. It first examines the predictions of these models when there are more than two family members, demonstrating that altruism with multiple altruists is similar to the classic public good model. The paper also examines predictions of the altruism model under the assumption that the child acts strategically. It is traditionally assumed that parents unilaterally determine the amount of assistance they provide to their child. However, if one allows strategic behavior by the child, the classic prediction of complete neutralization of redistributive policies does not hold. Empirical analyses do not overwhelmingly support either of the two models; other motivations are likely to be important.

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File URL: http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/drafts/2008/DRU2294.pdf
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Paper provided by RAND Corporation Publications Department in its series Working Papers with number 00-06.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ran:wpaper:00-06
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  1. Cox, Donald & Rank, Mark R, 1992. "Inter-vivos Transfers and Intergenerational Exchange," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(2), pages 305-14, May.
  2. Altonji, Joseph G & Hayashi, Fumio & Kotlikoff, Laurence J, 1997. "Parental Altruism and Inter Vivos Transfers: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(6), pages 1121-66, December.
  3. Andreoni, James, 1988. "Privately provided public goods in a large economy: The limits of altruism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 57-73, February.
  4. Donald Cox & Fredric Raines, 1985. "Interfamily Transfers and Income Redistribution," NBER Chapters, in: Horizontal Equity, Uncertainty, and Economic Well-Being, pages 393-426 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Cox, Donald, 1987. "Motives for Private Income Transfers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 508-46, June.
  6. B. Douglas Bernheim & Kyle Bagwell, 1989. "Is Everything Neutral?," NBER Working Papers 2086, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Barro, Robert J, 1974. "Are Government Bonds Net Wealth?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1095-1117, Nov.-Dec..
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