“Intergenerational Transfers, Demographic Transition, and Altruism: Problems in Developing Asia”

 Yoshitaka Koda, Chulalongkorn University

 Manachaya Uruyos, Chulalongkorn University

 Siwapong Dheera-Aumpon, Kasetsart University

This paper develops a three-period overlapping-generations model where middle-aged agents care about not only their own lifetime utility but also their old parents’ and children’s well-being. The doubly altruistic agents choose amounts of intergenerational transfers to their old parents and children as well as private savings. The government specifies amounts of public transfers from working adults to the dependents. The model also takes the effects of demographic transition on the burdens of supporting elders and children into account. Using the fourteen countries’ data in the National Transfer Accounts (NTA), we estimate the degrees of filial and parental altruism and adjust them with their respective life expectancy and fertility rates. The findings suggest that the developed countries are more filially altruistic than the developing ones, and people in developing Asia have the notably lower adjusted degrees of filial altruism than those in the other countries. Our welfare analyses reveal that the developing Asian countries must introduce more comprehensive public welfare programs for the elderly in order to maximize social welfare. Moreover, their low adjusted degrees of filial altruism would trap the developing Asian countries at the current low levels of public old-age supports and social welfare as further demographic transition ensued.