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Intra-Household Transfers and Old-Age Security in America, 1890-1950

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  • Chulhee Lee

Abstract

This paper explores the economic status of the elderly in late nineteenth and early twentieth century America. It has been widely believed that reduced earnings of ageing workers in these periods were fully supplemented by increased earnings of children. The patterns of individual consumption expenditures, however, indicate that children's supports were no longer an important means of old-age security after the end of the nineteenth century. Older males who were out of the labour force were much poorer than active workers of a similar age. The retired were not as much protected by family support as active workers. This result indicates that the previous studies based mainly on active workers overstate the extent of economic progress of the entire elderly population in the industrial era. This study tends to support the conventional belief that the rise of the welfare state was a response to the emerging social problems in the era of industrialization such as unemployment, poverty, and dependence of the elderly.
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Suggested Citation

  • Chulhee Lee, 2000. "Intra-Household Transfers and Old-Age Security in America, 1890-1950," Working Paper Series no38, Institute of Economic Research, Seoul National University.
  • Handle: RePEc:snu:ioerwp:no38
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    File URL: http://econ.snu.ac.kr/~ecores/activity/paper/no38.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lundberg, Shelly & Pollak, Robert A, 1994. "Noncooperative Bargaining Models of Marriage," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 132-137, May.
    2. Alter, George & Goldin, Claudia & Rotella, Elyce, 1994. "The Savings of Ordinary Americans: The Philadelphia Saving Fund Society in the Mid-Nineteenth Century," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(04), pages 735-767, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Chulhee Lee, 2009. "Technological Changes and Employment of Older Manufacturing Workers in Early Twentieth Century America," NBER Working Papers 14746, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Andreea Balan-Cohen, 2008. "Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise? The Impact of the Old Age Assistance Program on Elderly Mortality in the United States," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0719, Department of Economics, Tufts University.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination

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