Abstract: Paper No. 5

Do Parents Divide Resources Equally among Children? Evidence from the AHEAD Survey

Thomas A. Dunn and John W. Phillips

January 1997

Abstract:  This paper uses data from the Asset and Health Dynamics of the Oldest Old study to determine how parents divide their resources among their children. We find that parents are most likely to name all children as beneficiaries of trusts, life insurance policies, and wills, regardless of income differences among the children. In contrast, cash gifts are made most often to poorer children in the family. Poorer children are also more likely to coreside with parents, and deeds to residences are more likely to be passed to coresident children. In summary, transfers made while the parent is alive are directed more toward poorer children, while transfers to be executed at death are made to all children, irrespective of income differences among them.

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