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Grandpa and the snapper: the wellbeing of the elderly who live with children

Author

Listed:
  • Angus Deaton

    (Princeton University and NBER)

  • Arthur A. Stone

    (Stony Brook University)

Abstract

Elderly Americans who live with people under age 18 have lower life evaluations than those who do not. They also experience worse emotional outcomes, including less happiness and enjoyment, and more stress, worry, and anger. In part, these negative outcomes come from selection into living with a child, especially selection on poor health, which is associated with worse outcomes irrespective of living conditions. Yet even with controls, the elderly who live with children do worse. This is in sharp contrast to younger adults who live with children, likely their own, whose life evaluation is no different in the presence of the child once background conditions are controlled for. Parents, like elders, have enhanced negative emotions in the presence of a child, but unlike elders, also have enhanced positive emotions. In parts of the world where fertility rates are higher, the elderly do not appear to have lower life evaluations when they live with children; such living arrangements are more usual, and the selection into them is less negative. They also share with younger adults the enhanced positive and negative emotions that come with children. The misery of the elderly living with children is one of the prices of the demographic transition.

Suggested Citation

  • Angus Deaton & Arthur A. Stone, 2013. "Grandpa and the snapper: the wellbeing of the elderly who live with children," Working Papers 1471, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
  • Handle: RePEc:pri:rpdevs:grandpa_and_the_snapper_complete_version_2.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Orla Doyle & Liam Delaney & Christine O'Farrelly & Nick Fitzpatrick & Michael Daly, 2015. "Can Early Intervention Improve Maternal Well-being? Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial," Working Papers 2015-015, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    elderly; grandparents; anger; life evaluation; children; parents;

    JEL classification:

    • D19 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Other
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth

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