Transfer Behavior: Measurement and the Redistribution of Resources within the Family

44 Pages Posted: 28 Dec 2003 Last revised: 16 Aug 2010

See all articles by Kathleen M. McGarry

Kathleen M. McGarry

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Robert F. Schoeni

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Survey Research Center

Date Written: January 1994

Abstract

Recent work by a number of economists has opened a debate about the role played by intergenerational transfers. Using the new Health and Retirement Survey (HRS), we are better able to address the issues involved. Contrary to the current literature on bequests, we do not find that parents give transfers equally to all children. Rather we find that in the case of inter vivos transfers, respondents give greater financial assistance to their less well off children, relative to their children with higher incomes. Financial transfers to elderly parents are also found to be negatively related to the (potential) recipient's income. These results hold both for the incidence of transfers and for the amounts. Additionally, we allow for unobserved differences across families by estimating fixed effect models and find our results to be robust to these specifications. Thus we fail to reject altruism as a possible motivation for transfers. A comparison of the HRS transfer data to other survey data demonstrates that the HRS is potentially quite useful for research on transfer behavior.

Suggested Citation

McGarry, Kathleen M. and Schoeni, Robert F., Transfer Behavior: Measurement and the Redistribution of Resources within the Family (January 1994). NBER Working Paper No. w4607. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=408186

Kathleen M. McGarry (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Economics ( email )

Box 951477
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Los Angeles, CA 90095-1477
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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Robert F. Schoeni

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Survey Research Center ( email )

Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1248
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~bschoeni/

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