Do Parents Help More Their Less Well-off Children? Evidence from a Sample of Migrants to France

Wolff, Fran├žois-Charles; Spilerman, Seymour; Attias-Donfut, Claudine

Through an investigation of parental motives, this paper examines how parents decide on the allocation of their resources within the family when there are several offspring. From a theoretical viewpoint, inter vivos transfers may be explained either by altruism or by an exchange motive. Though unequal sharing is expected under both hypotheses, under altruism parents should direct their assistance to less well off children. Analogously, under an exchange motive we expect support to be channeled to children who live nearby their parents. We assess the relevance of the two transfer motives using the PRI survey, conducted in 2003, on a sample of immigrants living in France. Unequal sharing is frequently observed, and children are more likely to receive financial transfers when they are in poor circumstance, but not necessarily when living in proximity to parents. This is the case even after controlling for unobserved heterogeneity with fixed effects models. We also emphasize the role of cultural factors, especially religion, as determinants of the parental allocation among children.



More About This Work

Academic Units
Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy
Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy, Columbia University
ISERP Working Papers, 05-03
Published Here
August 18, 2010


March 2005.