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Does Home Ownership Crowd Out Investment in Children's Human Capital?

Elsa Fornero, Agnese Romiti () and Cristina Rossi

No 2013-21, LISER Working Paper Series from LISER

Abstract: Parents can adopt two strategies to take care about their children and their future life: they can invest in their human capital, or in real (and financial) wealth to bequeath to them. The optimal children’s endowment is assured in equilibrium by complete and perfect markets. However, in the real world markets are far from being perfect and the investment in real or financial wealth can ultimately displace the human capital’s one. A strong preference for home ownership makes parents inclined to consider the house as the typical bequest-friendly asset, even at the expense of children’s education. Misconceptions about the relative returns of the two different forms of wealth, with a perceived excessive premium from the returns from housing wealth, may also be at work. We argue that this scenario could be well represented by the Italian context. Therefore we analyze the possible trade off between (children’s) human and (inherited) real capital by using the Bank of Italy’s Survey of Household Income and Wealth (SHIW). Our evidence seems to confirm our hypothesis, and in particular the results are higher for the women’s sample.

Keywords: Education; Bequests; parental investment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D10 D91 I21 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 44 pages
Date: 2013-11
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hrm and nep-ure
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