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Resource transfers among households have received considerable interest among economists in recent years. Two of the main reasons for the surge of interest in household transfers are the information on human nature conveyed by transfer behavior and the implication on income redistribution policy that private transfer might have. Empirical studies, however, provide mixed results on transfer behavior. This is because previous inquiries were confronted with several estimation issues and have focused on data from developed countries where private transfers are already small. This paper contributes to the literature on transfer behavior by using a multifaceted econometric approach to examine the motives of household transfers in Burkina, a low-income country with a well-documented tradition of gift exchanges. The findings suggest that risk sharing is not central to transfers. Altruistic transfers are apparent for the middle income class, but not a low income level. The evidence implies that crowding out may be minimal at a low income level, suggesting that public transfers targeting poor households may be effective.

Keywords: private transfers ; altruism ; exchanges ; risk sharing

Subject(s): Consumer/Household Economics

Issue Date: 2004

Publication Type: Working or Discussion Paper

PURL Identifier:

Total Pages: 55

JEL Codes: D63; D64; I15; I30

Series Statement: Center Discussion Paper No. 895

Record appears in: Yale University > Economic Growth Center > Center Discussion Papers

Autor: Kazianga, Harounan


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