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Do Parents Help More their Less Well-Off Children? Evidence from a Sample of Migrants to France

  • Francois-Charles Wolff

    (Universite de Nantes)

  • Seymour Spilerman

    (Columbia University)

  • Claudine Attias-Donfut


Through an investigation of parental motives, this paper examines how parents decide on the allocation of their resources within the family when there are several offspring. From a theoretical viewpoint, inter vivos transfers may be explained either by altruism or by an exchange motive. Though unequal sharing is expected under both hypotheses, under altruism parents should direct their assistance to less well off children. Analogously, under an exchange motive we expect support to be channeled to children who live nearby their parents. We assess the relevance of the two transfer motives using the PRI survey, conducted in 2003, on a sample of immigrants living in France. Unequal sharing is frequently observed, and children are more likely to receive financial transfers when they are in poor circumstance, but not necessarily when living in proximity to parents. This is the case even after controlling for unobserved heterogeneity with fixed effects models. We also emphasize the role of cultural factors, especially religion, as determinants of the parental allocation among children.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Microeconomics with number 0504001.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: 02 Apr 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpmi:0504001
Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 30
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