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Long-term care and lazy rotten kids

  • Cremer, Helmuth
  • Roeder, Kerstin

This paper studies the determination of informal long-term care (family aid) to dependent elderly in a worst case scenario concerning the "harmony" of family relations. Children are purely selfish, and neither side can make credible commitments (which rules out e¢ cient bargaining). The model is based on Becker's "rotten kid" specification except that it explicitly accounts for the sequence of decisions. In Becker's world, with a single good, this setting yields efficiency. We show that when family aid (and long-term care services in general) are introduced the outcome is likely to be inefficient. Still, the rotten kid mechanism is at work and ensures that a positive level of aid is provided as long as the bequest motive is operative. We identify the inefficiencies by comparing the laissez-faire (subgame perfect) equilibrium to the first-best allocation. We initially assume that families are identical ex ante. However, the case where dynasties differ in wealth is also considered. We study how the provision of long-term care (LTC) can be improved by public policies under various informational assumptions. Interestingly, crowding out of private aid by public LTC is not a problem in this setting. With an operative bequest motive, public LTC will have no impact on private aid. More amazingly still, when the bequest motive is (initially) not operative, public insurance may even enhance the provision of informal aid.

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Paper provided by Toulouse School of Economics (TSE) in its series TSE Working Papers with number 13-424.

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Date of creation: Aug 2013
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Handle: RePEc:tse:wpaper:27440
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  1. Edward C. Norton & Lauren Hersch Nicholas & Sean Sheng-Hsiu Huang, 2013. "Informal Care and Inter-vivos Transfers: Results from the National Longitudinal Survey of Mature Women," NBER Working Papers 18948, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Hirshleifer, Jack, 1977. "Shakespeare vs. Becker on Altruism: The Importance of Having the Last Word," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 15(2), pages 500-502, June.
  3. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:105:y:1990:i:1:p:155-65 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Bergstrom, T., 1995. "Economics of a Family Way," Papers 95-07, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
  5. Wolff, Francois-Charles, 2006. "Microeconomic models of family transfers," Handbook on the Economics of Giving, Reciprocity and Altruism, Elsevier.
  6. Brown, Jeffrey R. & Finkelstein, Amy, 2007. "Why is the market for long-term care insurance so small?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(10), pages 1967-1991, November.
  7. Ted Bergstrom, 1995. "Economic in a Family Way," Papers _028, University of Michigan, Department of Economics.
  8. CANTA, Chiara & PESTIEAU, Pierre, 2012. "Long term care insurance and family norms," CORE Discussion Papers 2012017, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  9. Neil Bruce & Michael Waldman, 1986. "The Rotten-Kid Theorem Meets the Samaritan's Dilemma," UCLA Economics Working Papers 402, UCLA Department of Economics.
  10. Siciliani Luigi, 2013. "The Economics of Long-Term Care," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 14(2), pages 343-375, August.
  11. Mirrlees, James A, 1971. "An Exploration in the Theory of Optimum Income Taxation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(114), pages 175-208, April.
  12. Bisin, Alberto & Verdier, Thierry, 2001. "The Economics of Cultural Transmission and the Dynamics of Preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 298-319, April.
  13. CREMER, Helmuth & gahvari, Firouz & PESTIEAU, Pierre, 2013. "Uncertain altruism and the provision of long term care," CORE Discussion Papers 2013047, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  14. Cox, Donald, 1987. "Motives for Private Income Transfers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 508-46, June.
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