Altruistically motivated transfers under uncertainty Articles uri icon

publication date

  • November 2014

start page

  • 705

end page

  • 749


  • 3


  • 5

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1759-7323

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1759-7331


  • How do families behave dynamically? We provide a framework for studying economic problems in which family behavior is essential. Our key innovation is the inclusion of imperfectly altruistic agents in an otherwise standard consumption-savings problem with exogenous income risk. This gives rise to altruistic transfers and strategic behavior in the consumption&-savings decision. We study the Markov-perfect equilibrium that arises from the limit of equilibria in a sequence of finite games. The equilibrium's transfer patterns are empirically plausible. Furthermore, agents overconsume relative to the social optimum. In contrast to two-period models, both the richer and the poorer players overconsume long before transfers actually occur. The poorer agent also faces incentives to engage in excessive risk-taking because losses from a gamble are absorbed by both while gains are enjoyed alone.


  • altruism; inter vivos transfers; consumption–savings decision; differential games; c73; d1; d64; e21