Essays on Intergenerational Transfers

TitleEssays on Intergenerational Transfers
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsWang, J
Date Published2005
UniversityDuke University
KeywordsAdult children, Healthcare

Intergenerational transfers are an important economic phenomenon, with many aspects still unknown. Using national longitudinal data from the Health Retirement Study, this dissertation expands the issue of transfers into three other economic areas and offers new research angles and techniques. The first study investigates how recent welfare reforms affect childcare provision by grandparents. In general, parents of single mothers are found to spend more time with their grandchildren. Welfare reforms affect grandparents differently: for families who had been depending on grandparents for childcare, welfare reforms increase their reliance on this safety net. However, for families who did not have such a relationship with grandparents, there is no increase in the likelihood that they will start to use grandparents caring for their grandchildren after welfare reforms. As grandparents are usually the primary childcare providers next to center care, the finding that some families did not use grandparents for childcare raise the concern that these school-age children may not be receiving enough adult supervision. The second study estimates the price of time, i.e. the unit value people put on time doing certain activities. It finds that time spent on caregiving did not affect the value of time on leisure, indicating that caregiving was not treated in the same way as labor market work. It thus offers an explanation why previous studies find different relationship between these two decisions. Furthermore, the study provides a framework to simulate policies that compensate caregivers for their care provision. The simulation results show that such policies can increase the amount of caregivers and caregiving, with a low corresponding reduction in labor supply. The third study proposes new tests and evidence of the transfer motive, an important yet inconclusive question in the literature. It examines the key relationship on which the "exchange motive" model is built: whether a donor's behavior is affected by his own expectation of receiving an inheritance or intervivos transfers. The study finds that children's time transfers were positively associated with their expectation of intervivos transfers. They were found not to be affected by the expectation of receiving bequests.

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Short TitleEssays on Intergenerational Transfers
Citation Key6140