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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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Suggested Citation

  • Liliana E. Pezzin & Robert A. Pollak & Barbara Steinberg Schone, 2008. "Parental Marital Disruption, Family Type, and Transfers to Disabled Elderly Parents," Journals of Gerontology: Series B, 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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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Marco Francesconi & Robert A. Pollak & Domenico Tabasso, 2015. "Unequal Bequests," Research Papers by the Institute of Economics and Econometrics, Geneva School of Economics and Management, University of Geneva 15013, Institut d'Economie et Econométrie, Université de Genève.
    2. repec:esx:essedp:759 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. 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.
    4. Compton, Janice & Pollak, Robert, 2013. "Proximity and Coresidence of Adult Children and their Parents in the United States: Description and Correlates," IZA Discussion Papers 7431, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    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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