A Strategic Altruism Model In Which Ricardian Equivalence Does Not Hold

Laurence J. Kotlikoff, Assaf Razin, Robert W. Rosenthal

NBER Working Paper No. 2699 (Also Reprint No. r1568)
Issued in September 1988
NBER Program(s):Public Economics

This article demonstrates that Ricardian Equivalence does not necessarily hold in models with altruistic transfers once one takes into account the strategic behavior of recipients as well as donors. To influence the final allocation of consumption in altruistic settings, potential recipients can threaten to refuse as well as accept transfers. We apply the Extended Nash Bargaining Solution to the problem of an altruistic parent and a possibly altruistic child. The parent and child first choose a threat point noncooperatively; this threat point then influences the final allocation of consumption through the standard Nash Bargaining Solution, While the potential recipient can refuse transfers from the potential donor, he cannot refuse transfers from the government. When the government redistributes between the parent and child, it changes their endowments and the equilibrium threats, and thus the final allocation of consumption. The feature of the cooperative model presented here that leads to the failure of Ricardian Equivalence may be characteristic of a wider class of cooperative and noncooperative altruism models. This feature is that noninterior strategic postures underlie interior transfer behavior and that these non- interior strategic postures are altered by government redistribution.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w2699

Published: The Economic Journal, Vol. 100, pp. 1261-1268, (December 1990). citation courtesy of

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