Transfer Behavior in the Health and Retirement Study: Measurement and the Redistribution of Resources within the Family
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), the authors are better able to address the issues involved. Contrary to the current literature on bequests, they do not find that parents give transfers equally to all children. Rather, they 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) recipients' income. These results hold for both the incidence of transfers and for the amounts. Additionally, the authors allow for unobserved differences across families by estimating fixed effect models and find their results to be robust to these specifications. Thus they 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.
Originally published in: The Journal of Human Resources, v. 30, suppl., 1995, pp. S184-S226.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Reprint series. The Reprint was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1992 to 2011 that represented previously published journal articles, book chapters, and reports with the permission of the publisher. RAND reprints were formally reviewed in accordance with the publisher's editorial policy and compliant with RAND's rigorous quality assurance standards for quality and objectivity. For select current RAND journal articles, see External Publications.
This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit www.rand.org/pubs/permissions.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.