The manipulation of children’s preferences, old-age support, and investment in children’s human capital

Gary S. Becker, Kevin M. Murphy, Jörg L. Spenkuch*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

We consider the link between parents’ influence over the preferences of children, parental investments in children’s human capital, and children’s support of elderly parents. It may pay for parents to spend resources to “manipulate” children’s preferences in order to induce them to support their parents in old age. Since parents invest more in children when they expect greater support, manipulation of child preferences may end up helping children and parents.A new result, which we call the “Rotten Parent Theorem,” demonstrates that if children are altruistic, then even selfish parents will make the optimal investment in their children’s human capital.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S3-S30
JournalJournal of Labor Economics
Volume34
Issue numberS2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial relations
  • Economics and Econometrics

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