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Why Don’t the Elderly Live with Their Children? A New Look

In: Issues in the Economics of Aging

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  • Laurence J. Kotlikoff
  • John N. Morris

Abstract

Perhaps no single statistic raises more concern about post War changes in the U.S. family than the proportion of the elderly living alone. Since 1940 the proportion of elderly living alone and in institutions has risen dramatically. While demographics appear to explain much of the change in the living arrangements of the elderly, the rising income of the elderly is viewed by many as the chief or at least a chief reason why the elderly live alone. The analyses underlying this view have not, however, considered the incomes and preferences of the children of the elderly. This paper presents a model of the joint living arrangement choice of parents and children. It then uses a new set of data to consider how the preferences and income positions of the elderly and their children influence the living arrangements of elderly parents. The findings suggest that the preferences and income levels of children may be important factors in explaining why so many of the elderly live alone.

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This chapter was published in:

  • David A. Wise, 1990. "Issues in the Economics of Aging," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number wise90-1, October.
    This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 7116.

    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:7116

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    Cited by:
    1. Naoko Shinkai, 2000. "How Do Social Security and Income Affect the Living Arrangements of the Elderly? Evidence from Reforms in Mexico and Uruguay," Research Department Publications 4231, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    2. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson, 1999. "Aging and the Growth of Long-Term Care," Working Papers 9909, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
    3. Midori Wakabayashi & Charles Yuji Horioka, 2006. "Is the Eldest Son Different? The Residential Choice of Siblings in Japan," ISER Discussion Paper 0674, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    4. Liliana E. Pezzin & Robert A. Pollak & Barbara S. Schone, 2007. "Efficiency in Family Bargaining: Living Arrangements and Caregiving Decisions of Adult Children and Disabled Elderly Parents," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 53(1), pages 69-96, March.
    5. Julie Zissimopoulos, 2001. "Resource Transfers to the Elderly: Do Adult Children Substitute Financial Transfers for Time Transfers?," Working Papers 01-05, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
    6. Diane Macunovich & Richard Easterlin & Christine Schaeffer & Eileen Crimmins, 1995. "Echoes of the baby boom and bust: Recent and prospective changes in living alone among elderly widows in the united states," Demography, Springer, vol. 32(1), pages 17-28, February.
    7. Benoit Dostie & Pierre Thomas Léger, 2003. "The Living Arrangement Dynamics of Sick, Elderly Individuals," Cahiers de recherche 03-07, HEC Montréal, Institut d'économie appliquée.
    8. Naoko Shinkai, 2000. "¿De qué manera la seguridad social y el ingreso repercuten en los arreglos de vida de los ancianos? Elementos de juicio de las reformas de México y Uruguay," Research Department Publications 4232, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    9. VanderHart, Peter G., 1998. "The Housing Decisions of Older Households: A Dynamic Analysis," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 21-48, March.
    10. Axel Borsch-Supan, 1989. "A Dynamic Analysis of Household Dissolution and Living Arrangement Transitions by Elderly Americans," NBER Working Papers 2808, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Axel Borsch-Supan & Laurence J. Kotlikoff & John N. Morris, 1988. "The Dynamics of Living Arrangements of the Elderly," NBER Working Papers 2787, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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