Altruism, Favoritism, and Guilt in the Allocation of Family Resources: Sophie's Choice in Mao's Mass Send Down Movement

43 Pages Posted: 24 Sep 2008

See all articles by Li Hongbin

Li Hongbin

Tsinghua University

Mark R. Rosenzweig

Yale University - Economic Growth Center; Yale University - Cowles Foundation

Junsen Zhang

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: September 23, 2008

Abstract

In this paper, we use new survey data on twins born in urban China, among whom many experienced the consequences of the forced mass rustication movement of the Chinese "cultural revolution," to identify the distinct roles of altruism and guilt in affecting behavior within families. Based on a model depicting the choices of the allocation of parental time and transfers to multiple children incorporating favoritism, altruism and guilt, we show the conditions under which guilt and altruism can be separately identified by experimental variation in parental time with children. Based on within-twins estimates of affected cohorts, we find that parents selected children with lower endowments to be sent down; that parents behaved altruistically, providing more gifts to the sibling with lower earnings and schooling; but also exhibited guilt - given the current state variables of the two children, the child experiencing more years of rustication received significantly higher transfers.

Keywords: Guilt, Altruism, China

JEL Classification: J12, J13, O12

Suggested Citation

Hongbin, Li and Rosenzweig, Mark Richard and Zhang, Junsen, Altruism, Favoritism, and Guilt in the Allocation of Family Resources: Sophie's Choice in Mao's Mass Send Down Movement (September 23, 2008). Yale University Economic Growth Center Discussion Paper No. 965, Yale Economics Department Working Paper No. 54, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1272520

Li Hongbin

Tsinghua University ( email )

Beijing, 100084
China

Mark Richard Rosenzweig (Contact Author)

Yale University - Economic Growth Center ( email )

Box 208269
New Haven, CT 06520-8269
United States
203-432-3620 (Phone)

Yale University - Cowles Foundation

Box 208281
New Haven, CT 06520-8281
United States

Junsen Zhang

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) - Department of Economics ( email )

Shatin, N.T.
Hong Kong
852-2609-8186 (Phone)
852-2603-5805 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.cuhk.edu.hk/eco/staff/jszhang/jzhang.htm

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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