Centrum Analiz Ekonomicznych

Working Paper 09/09

Altruism in the modern family: private transfers between parents and their biological and non-biological children

Małgorzata Kalbarczyk, Anna Nicińska


It has been recognized for a long time in the literature that there are altruistic relations within a family of parents and their biological children. The dispute on the sources of altruism refers usually to sociobiology and genetic improvement, even though there are also arguments for another mechanism in operation based rather upon social than biological relations. The changes in family formation, tenure and structure that took place over the previous century might have affected signicantly the relations within family. In addition to these processes Europe is facing opportunities and threats coming from ageing which makes mechanisms determining intergenerational interactions especially relevant. For these reasons the hypothesis on kinship altruism's presence within families shall be investigated in more detail. We found evidence over the sample of 50+ population in Europe showing that there is no reason to believe that parents over 49 treat the biological childrenn in a different way than non-biological children as far as the intervivos transfers are concerned. However, children among which there is a non-biological one are less likely to provide financial and non-financial transfers to parents.

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