Review of Economics of the Household

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 393–420 | Cite as

Parental altruism and nest leaving in Europe: evidence from a retrospective survey

  • Viola Angelini
  • Anne Laferrère


We use retrospective life-history data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe to assess parental altruism through the effect of parental resources and home characteristics on the age at which individuals now aged 50 or more left the nest in 13 countries. We show that the nest leaving age has declined from one cohort to the next and that the tendency has been of a relative decline in leaving one’s parents to start a family and an increase in leaving home to pursue higher education, even if the first pattern was still the most common for the baby-boomers. We test an altruistic model where constrained parents push the child out, where less constrained “proximity altruistic” parents can help the child by providing a home or even, for the richest “active altruists”, help the child leave the nest. Taking into account the endogenous child’s choices of education, we find that most parents helped by being proximity altruists, while some helped their children move out and that the quality of the home had an important influence on the nest leaving age.


Nest leaving Altruism Life-history data 

JEL Classification

D64 J12 R21 



We are grateful to two anonymous referees for helpful comments and suggestions. This paper uses data from SHARELIFE release 1, as of November 24th 2010 or SHARE release 2.4.0, as of March 17th 2010. The SHARE data collection has been primarily funded by the European Commission through the 5th framework programme (project QLK6-CT-2001-00360 in the thematic programme Quality of Life), through the 6th framework programme (projects SHARE-I3, RII-CT-2006-062193, COMPARE, CIT5-CT-2005-028857, and SHARELIFE, CIT4-CT-2006-028812) and through the 7th framework programme (SHARE-PREP, 211909 and SHARE-LEAP, 227822). Additional funding from the U.S. National Institute on Aging (U01 AG09740-13S2, P01 AG005842, P01 AG08291, P30 AG12815, Y1-AG-4553-01 and OGHA 04-064, IAG BSR06-11, R21 AG025169) as well as from various national sources is gratefully acknowledged (see for a full list of funding institutions).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.NetsparTilburgThe Netherlands
  3. 3.INSEEParisFrance
  4. 4.CRESTParisFrance

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