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Tough Love For Lazy Kids

  • Kevin Wiseman

    (University of Minnesota)

  • Ctirad Slavık

    (University of Minnesota)

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    Simple theories about why parents give money to their children fail to explain a central puzzle in inter-generational transfers: While parents are alive, they give more money to their poorer children. Bequests, by contrast, are typically divided evenly between children. We construct a model in which altruistic parents behave this way when facing a dynamic insurance problem. Parents concentrate incentives later in life, so that poorer children are partially insured against income shocks early in life, while insurance and incentive motives offset each other in determining bequests. We show that equal division of bequests can arise in the presence of small costs of unequal division.

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    File URL: https://www.economicdynamics.org/meetpapers/2009/paper_1091.pdf
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    Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2009 Meeting Papers with number 1091.

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    Date of creation: 2009
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    Handle: RePEc:red:sed009:1091
    Contact details of provider: Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Christian Zimmermann Economic Research Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis PO Box 442 St. Louis MO 63166-0442 USA
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    1. Chul-In Lee & Gary Solon, 2006. "Trends in Intergenerational Income Mobility," NBER Working Papers 12007, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Stefan Hochguertal & Henry Ohlsson, 2000. "Inter Vivos Gifts: Compensatory or Equal Sharing?," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0699, Econometric Society.
    3. Ohlsson, Henry, 2007. "The equal division puzzle – empirical evidence on intergenerational transfers in Sweden," Working Paper Series 2007:10, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
    4. Kathleen McGarry & Robert F. Schoeni, 1995. "Transfer Behavior within the Family: Results from the Asset and Health Dynamics Survey," NBER Working Papers 5099, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Kathleen McGarry & Robert F. Schoeni, 1994. "Transfer Behavior: Measurement and the Redistribution of Resources within the Family," NBER Working Papers 4607, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Arrondel, Luc & Masson, Andre, 2006. "Altruism, exchange or indirect reciprocity: what do the data on family transfers show?," Handbook on the Economics of Giving, Reciprocity and Altruism, Elsevier.
    7. Stefan Hochguertel & Henry Ohlsson, 2007. "Compensatory Inter Vivos Gifts," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 07-074/3, Tinbergen Institute.
    8. Jonathan Heathcote & Kjetil Storesletten & Giovanni L. Violante, 2008. "The Macroeconomic Implications of Rising Wage Inequality in the United States," NBER Working Papers 14052, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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