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Patterns and correlates of intergenerational non-time transfers : evidence from CHARLS

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  • Lei, Xiaoyan
  • Giles, John
  • Hu, Yuqing
  • Park, Albert
  • Strauss, John
  • Zhao, Yaohui

Abstract

Using the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study 2008 pilot, this paper analyzes the patterns and correlates of intergenerational transfers between elderly parents and adult children in Zhejiang and Gansu Provinces. The pilot is a unique data source from China that provides information on the direction as well as amount of transfers between parents and each of their children, and clearly distinguishes transfers between parents and children from those among other relatives or friends. The paper shows that transfers flow predominantly from children to elderly parents, with transfers from children playing an important role in elderly support. Taking advantage of the rich information available in this survey, the authors find strong evidence that transfers are significantly affected by the financial capabilities of individual children. Educated and married children have a higher tendency to provide transfers to their parents; and oldest sons are less likely to provide transfers than their younger brothers. With future continued rapid economic growth in China, the income disadvantage of the elderly will persist and upward generational transfers will likely remain the most common form of private transfers. In the absence of some other source of elderly support (such as a public pension or own savings), the dwindling number of children implies that the financial burden associated with supporting the elderly is likely to increase.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 6076.

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Date of creation: 01 Jun 2012
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6076

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Keywords: Health Monitoring&Evaluation; Youth and Governance; Rural Poverty Reduction; Labor Policies; Population&Development;

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  1. Altonji, Joseph G & Hayashi, Fumio & Kotlikoff, Laurence J, 1997. "Parental Altruism and Inter Vivos Transfers: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(6), pages 1121-66, December.
  2. Michael Hurd & James P. Smith & Julie Zissimopoulos, 2011. "Intervivos Giving Over the Lifecycle," Working Papers 524-1, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  3. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "A Theory of Social Interactions," NBER Working Papers 0042, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Cox, Donald & Jimenez, Emmanuel & Okrasa, Wlodek, 1997. "Family Safety Nets and Economic Transition: A Study of Worker Households in Poland," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 43(2), pages 191-209, June.
  5. Cai, Fang & Giles, John & Meng, Xin, 2006. "How well do children insure parents against low retirement income? An analysis using survey data from urban China," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(12), pages 2229-2255, December.
  6. James P. Smith & John J. McArdle & Robert Willis, 2010. "Financial Decision Making and Cognition in a Family Context," Working Papers 785, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  7. Cox, Donald & Eser, Zekeriya & Jimenez, Emmanuel, 1998. "Motives for private transfers over the life cycle: An analytical framework and evidence for Peru," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 57-80, February.
  8. Kotlikoff, Laurence J, 1988. "Intergenerational Transfers and Savings," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 41-58, Spring.
  9. Giorgio Secondi, 1997. "Private monetary transfers in rural china: Are families altruistic?," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(4), pages 487-511.
  10. Cox, Donald, 1987. "Motives for Private Income Transfers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 508-46, June.
  11. Lei, Xiaoyan & Strauss, John & Tian, Meng & Zhao, Yaohui, 2011. "Living Arrangements of the Elderly in China: Evidence from CHARLS," IZA Discussion Papers 6249, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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