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Aging, Well-Being, And Social Security In Rural North China

  • Dwayne Benjamin
  • Loren Brandt
  • Scott Rozelle

We explore the economic position of the elderly in rural North China. In particular, we examine the work patterns and incomes attributable to the elderly, and explore the role of extended families in protecting the welfare of the elderly. Our objective is to document the channels by which private, family-based social security exists in rural China. Drawing upon a 1995 household survey, as well employing household surveys from 1935 and 1989 as benchmarks, we show that extended families, while still important, play a smaller role than in the "glory days" of extended families. We also show that urban-rural distinctions in terms of the role of the family are not very important. The primary difference is that the urban elderly live in higher income households, to some extent because of their more generous state-funded pensions. The main conclusion from our analysis is that the rural elderly merit considerably more attention than has been paid to them, and that it would be unwise to assume that "filial piety" will guarantee the living standards of elderly in rural areas.

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File URL: http://www.economics.utoronto.ca/public/workingPapers/UT-ECIPA-BENJAMIN-98-01.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Toronto, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number benjamin-98-01.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: 09 Sep 1998
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:benjamin-98-01
Contact details of provider: Postal: 150 St. George Street, Toronto, Ontario
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  1. Anne Case & Angus Deaton, 1996. "Large Cash Transfers to the Elderly in South Africa," NBER Working Papers 5572, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Deaton, A. & Paxson, C.H., 1990. "Patterns Of Aging In Thailand And Cote D'Ivoire," Papers 148, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Development Studies.
  3. Angus S. Deaton & Christina Paxson, 1998. "Measuring Poverty among the Elderly," NBER Chapters, in: Inquiries in the Economics of Aging, pages 169-204 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Benjamin, Dwayne & Brandt, Loren, 1997. "Land, Factor Markets, and Inequality in Rural China: Historical Evidence," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 460-494, October.
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