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Parental Marital Disruption, Family Type, and Transfers to Disabled Elderly Parents

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  • Liliana E. Pezzin
  • Robert A. Pollak
  • Barbara Steinberg Schone

Abstract

This paper examines the family variables that affect intergenerational living arrangements and adult children's time and cash transfers to their unpartnered disabled elderly parents. The family variables we examine include parental marital status, parental marital history, whether the index child is a step child or a biological child of the parent, and whether the index child's siblings are step children or biological children of the parent. Using data from the Health and Retirement Studies - Asset and Health Dynamics Among the Oldest Old (HRS-AHEAD) surveys, we estimate the joint probabilities that an adult child provides time and/or cash transfers to a parent and analyze a five-level categorical variable capturing parent–child living arrangements. Parameter estimates suggest significant detrimental effects of parental divorce and step relationship on time transfers and on the probability of coresidence with the index child. The composition of the index child's sibling network also affects transfers and living arrangement choices of adult children. Our findings suggest that demographic changes are weakening the traditional role of the family as a support network. Because more recent cohorts of elderly persons have experienced substantially higher rates of divorce, remarriage, and step parenthood than the cohort considered in this study, our findings raise concerns about the future availability of family care.
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  • Liliana E. Pezzin & Robert A. Pollak & Barbara Steinberg Schone, 2008. "Parental Marital Disruption, Family Type, and Transfers to Disabled Elderly Parents," The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, The Gerontological Society of America, vol. 63(6), pages 349-358.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:geronb:v:63:y:2008:i:6:p:s349-s358
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    Cited by:

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    2. Courtney Harold Van Houtven & Norma B. Coe & R. Tamara Konetzka, 2015. "Family Structure and Long‐Term Care Insurance Purchase," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(S1), pages 58-73, March.
    3. Judith A. Seltzer, 2019. "Family Change and Changing Family Demography," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 56(2), pages 405-426, April.
    4. Emily E. Wiemers & Judith A. Seltzer & Robert F. Schoeni & V. Joseph Hotz & Suzanne M. Bianchi, 2019. "Stepfamily Structure and Transfers Between Generations in U.S. Families," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 56(1), pages 229-260, February.
    5. Susan L Brown & Kagan A Mellencamp & I-Fen Lin, 2022. "Sole Family Survivors: Older Adults Lacking Family of Origin Kin," The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, The Gerontological Society of America, vol. 77(5), pages 930-935.
    6. Shelly Lundberg & Robert A. Pollak & Jenna Stearns, 2016. "Family Inequality: Diverging Patterns in Marriage, Cohabitation, and Childbearing," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 30(2), pages 79-102, Spring.
    7. Francesconi, Marco & Pollak, Robert A. & Tabasso, Domenico, 2023. "Unequal bequests," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 157(C).
    8. Jenjira Yahirun & Dana Hamplová, 2014. "Children’s union status and contact with mothers: A cross-national study," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 30(51), pages 1413-1444.
    9. Janice Compton & Robert A. Pollak, 2015. "Proximity and Coresidence of Adult Children and their Parents in the United States : Description and Correlates," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 117-118, pages 91-114.
    10. Marjolein I. Broese van Groenou & Alice Boer, 2016. "Providing informal care in a changing society," European Journal of Ageing, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 271-279, September.
    11. Heeju Sohn, 2019. "Fraying Families: Demographic Divergence in the Parental Safety Net," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 56(4), pages 1519-1540, August.
    12. repec:esx:essedp:759 is not listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination

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