Dynamics and Determinants of Family Transfers

The Mexican Case

by Claudia Diaz

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For older adults with limited access to social security and pension savings, children assume the role of providers of financial resources and personal care, among other types of family transfers. This is the case for many older adults in the developing world as well as for those in developed countries who become vulnerable during periods of economic downturn. This and the ongoing demographic transition towards old age common to many developing and most developed nations, raise questions about the interactions between policies and the increased involvement of children in their parent's income security and well being. This dissertation studies the case of Mexico to address some of these concerns. Several features make lessons from this country relevant. First, in Mexico children are one of the main sources of income for older adults. Second, the country's demographic transition will shift the proportion of adults 60 and older from 8 percent of the total population in 2005 to 27 percent in 2050, increasingly requiring involvement from children to provide for their parents, an issue made worse by the limited coverage of the social security and pension systems. One of the main long term risks in this is that Mexico, as well as other countries and populations under similar circumstances, could be facing another mechanism of intergenerational transmission of poverty as the number of older adults increases. From a policy perspective, concerns rise about the way in which public programs affect private mechanisms of support. The three aims of this dissertation address different aspects on these regards.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Analysis of determinants and motives for upstream frequent and infrequent transfers

  • Chapter Two

    The role of spouses and siblings in couples' decision to provide upstream transfers

  • Chapter Three

    Evaluation of the effect of Mexico's conditional cash transfer program on private transfers

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This document was submitted as a dissertation in June 2012 in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the doctoral degree in public policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. The faculty committee that supervised and approved the dissertation consisted of Chloe Bird (Chair), Emma Aguila, and Jeremy Miles.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Dissertation series. Pardee RAND dissertations are produced by graduate fellows of the Pardee RAND Graduate School, the world's leading producer of Ph.D.'s in policy analysis. The dissertations are supervised, reviewed, and approved by a Pardee RAND faculty committee overseeing each dissertation.

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