The Ohio State University
Institutional Affiliation: The Ohio State University
Information about this author at RePEc
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|June 2003||Why Parents Play Favorites: Explanations for Unequal Bequests|
with Kathleen McGarry: w9745
Economists have invested a great deal of effort in trying to understand the motivation for family transfers, yet recent empirical work testing the seemingly appealing models of altruism and exchange has led to decidedly mixed results. A major stumbling block has been the lack of adequate data. We take a fresh look at the issue using responses to an innovative survey question that directly asks mother about the planned division of their estates. We find that both altruism and exchange are frequently offered as explanations of behavior and are of nearly equal importance. Furthermore, the explanations are consistent with observable characteristics of the mother, lending support to the validity of the question. We also find that among step or adopted families, genetic ties play an important ro...
Published: Light, Audrey and Kathleen McGarry. "Why Parents Play Favorites: Explanations For Unequal Bequests," American Economic Review, 2004, v94(5,Dec), 1669-1681. citation courtesy of