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Altruism and Beyond

Altruism and Beyond
An Economic Analysis of Transfers and Exchanges within Families and Groups


Part of Oscar Morgenstern Memorial Lectures

  • Date Published: October 1999
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521663731

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About the Authors
  • How do altruistic links affect allocative behavior and wellbeing? Can the processes of transmission and probable acquisition of parental traits result in a stable equilibrium where all agents are altruists? Why do children furnish their parents with attention and care? Does the timing of the intergenerational transfer of the family's productive asset affect the recipient's incentive to acquire human capital? Why do migrants remit? Altruism and Beyond provides answers to these and related questions. In addition, it traces some of the market repercussions of the intrafamilial, intergenerational, and intragroup transfers and exchanges that it models.

    • Short and innovative approach to a subject not normally dealt with in economics literature
    • Hardback was received ecstatically by economists worldwide
    • Full of points for reflection and further research
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'An important contribution. … A think-piece about work in progress on the frontiers of transfer theory … (Stark) is remarkably good at pinning down the predictions of his models and checking them against the evidence.' The Economic Journal

    'Interesting … intriguing … a source of inspiration. … This book extends our understanding of the nature and consequences of nonmarket transfers among economic agents. Readers looking for stimulating ideas on these topics will find much here to think about.' Journal of Economic Literature

    'Oded Stark has been a pioneer in studies of both population and altruistic behavior. In these essays, he develops further the economic and demographic implications of altruism, particularly within the family. He shows the major insights that can be obtained from these considerations.' Kenneth J. Arrow, Stanford University

    'Oded Stark's acclaimed insights into the behavior of migrants are here broadened and deepened into an illuminating economic analysis of intra-familial and inter-generational transfers and exchanges. An exciting contribution to the growing field of social economics, and beyond.' Jacob Mincer, Columbia University

    'A very stimulating and pathbreaking book. Truly altruistic behavior is not as rare as it sometimes seems. Stark has opened up a new horizon for economic analysis in this significant area.' Dale W. Jorgenson, Harvard University

    'Read this book; you will read it in a sitting. It is plethoric with ideas. It will stimulate you greatly no matter if you are a theoretical economist or an applied economist. It will make you reflect on all sorts fo things, including how you have been treating lately your parents or your children.' Andreu Mas-Colell, Harvard University

    'Oded Stark has been at the forefront of research designed to comprehend issues at the interface of economics and sociology. In this book Stark brings his remarkable insights into the behaviour of migrants to understand the motives that underlie the behaviour of economic agents when such agents are viewed as members of a family or of a larger group. … [T]his book is a nice mix of those books which actually sets you thinking about your own life, particularly your interactions with your parents and your children.' Kyklos

    'The prevalence and importance of altruistic transfer in human affairs is a constant reproach to the economists' standard postulate of strict self-interest. In this short book, Oded Stark shows how self interested and altruistic behaviours are often subtly intertwined. As just one example, why do parents press their children for grandchildren? Because, he suggests, grandchildren motivate the middle generation to care for their elders - since doing so is likely to elicit parallel behaviour in turn from their own children! Stark's' volume deepens our understanding or sources and consequences of altruistic behaviour both within families and within ethnic groups.' Jack Hirshleifer, University of California, Los Angeles

    Oded Stark's book is a very stimulating one; it will undoubtedly inspire numerous future contributions in various fields.' European Journal of Political Economy

    'Sparkling … insightful … a pleasure to read.' Population Studies

    '[A] stimulating book … Stark is to be commended for pushing the theoretical frontiers of economic methodology into new and innovative directions.' Population and Development Review

    'I would strongly recommend to read this book.' The Economist

    'No doubt most economists will cheerfully (and sometimes correctly) continue to ignore altruism. For those who cannot, altruism will remain a tricky subject. This book, however, should make them a little less puzzled by the selfless behaviour of so many non-economists.' The Economist

    'Oded Stark's book is a very stimulating one; it will undoubtedly inspire numerous future contributions in various fields.' European Journal of Political Economy

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 1999
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521663731
    • length: 156 pages
    • dimensions: 226 x 152 x 10 mm
    • weight: 0.21kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Altruism, transfers, and wellbeing
    3. The timing of intergenerational transfers: an implication
    4. An exchange implication of transfers: the demonstration effect
    5. Transfers by migrants: a strategic motive for remittances
    6. Exchange with recognition costs: an explanation of migrants' performance
    7. Intrafamilial transfers and exchanges: forming and sustaining altruism.

  • Author

    Oded Stark, Universitetet i Oslo

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