Financial Resources, Living Arrangements, and Private Transfers

by Qiufei Ma

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This dissertation analyzes the caregiving behavior of adult children toward elderly parents and their living arrangements. Using data collected as part of the U.S. Health and Retirement Study, the author investigates the role of children's characteristics, primarily wealth and wages, in determining coresidency. The results highlight the value of considering the rich information on characteristics of both parents and children when investigating determinants of coresidency. The author also analyzes new intergenerational transfer data that have recently become available in the Chinese Social Survey of Family Dynamics, and assesses whether or not these data are useful to measure family support. The evidence suggests that money transfers are more determined by children's financial status, while time transfers respond strongly to parental need. Results highlight the existence of strong private transfers from adult children to their elderly parents in rural China.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Why don't adult children live with their elderly parents?

  • Chapter Two

    Intergenerational transfers: measurement, explanation and policy discussion

  • Chapter Three

    The role of adult children in caring for the elderly in a rural setting

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This document was submitted as a dissertation in March 2009 in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the doctoral degree in public policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. The faculty committee that supervised and approved the dissertation consisted of Arie Kapteyn (Chair), Julie Zissimopoulos, and Pierre-Carl Michaud.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Dissertation series. Pardee RAND dissertations are produced by graduate fellows of the Pardee RAND Graduate School, the world's leading producer of Ph.D.'s in policy analysis. The dissertations are supervised, reviewed, and approved by a Pardee RAND faculty committee overseeing each dissertation.

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