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Housing Windfalls and Intergenerational Transfers in China

Stanford's Shorenstein APARC hosts a discussion of housing reform in China.

October 23, 2013 12:00pm to 1:15pm

Maria Porter
Assistant Professor, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics

RSVP required by 5PM October 22

In this paper, we study the impact of housing reform and the rapid development of the housing market in China on parental wealth and financial transfers they receive from children. During the 1990s, the Chinese government gave property rights to many urban residents who had been allocated housing by their danwei employers. These unexpected windfalls were substantial in size, and grew with the rapid increase in housing prices over time, significantly impacting the asset holdings and wealth of affected urban residents. We find that these exogenous changes in wealth had a considerable impact on transfers received from adult non-resident children. We also find a non-linear relationship between transfers and recipient wealth, and strong evidence for altruistic transfer motives.