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Can China's rural elderly count on support from adult children ? implications of rural-to-urban migration

  • Giles, John
  • Wang, Dewen
  • Zhao, Changbao

This paper shows that support from the family continues to be an important source of support for the rural elderly, particularly the rural elderly over 70 years of age. Decline in likelihood of co-residence with, or in close proximity to, adult children raises the possibility that China's rural elderly will receive less support in the forms of both income and in-kind instrumental care. Although descriptive evidence on net financial transfers suggests that the elderly with migrant children will receive similar levels of financial transfers as those without migrant children, the predicted variance associated with these transfers implies a higher risk that elderly with migrant children may fall into poverty. Reducing the risk of low incomes among the elderly is one important motive for new rural pension initiatives supported by China's government, which are scheduled to be expanded to cover all rural counties by the end of the 12th Five Year Plan in 2016.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5510.

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Date of creation: 01 Dec 2010
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5510
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  1. Lisa Cameron & Deborah Cobb-Clark, 2008. "Do coresidency and financial transfers from the children reduce the need for elderly parents to works in developing countries?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 21(4), pages 1007-1033, October.
  2. Cox, Donald & Rank, Mark R, 1992. "Inter-vivos Transfers and Intergenerational Exchange," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(2), pages 305-14, May.
  3. John Giles & Kyeongwon Yoo, 2007. "Precautionary Behavior, Migrant Networks, and Household Consumption Decisions: An Empirical Analysis Using Household Panel Data from Rural China," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(3), pages 534-551, August.
  4. Jyotsna Jalan & Martin Ravallion, 1998. "Geographic Poverty Traps?," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 86, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  5. Ravi Kanbur & Xiaobo Zhang, 2004. "Fifty Years of Regional Inequality in China: A Journey Through Central Planning, Reform and Openness," Working Papers 158, Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bangalore.
  6. Giles, John, 2006. "Is life more risky in the open? Household risk-coping and the opening of China's labor markets," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 25-60, October.
  7. Cox, Donald & Hansen, Bruce E. & Jimenez, Emmanuel, 2004. "How responsive are private transfers to income? Evidence from a laissez-faire economy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 2193-2219, August.
  8. Du, Yang & Park, Albert & Wang, Sangui, 2005. "Migration and rural poverty in China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 688-709, December.
  9. Dwayne Benjamin & Loren Brandt & John Giles, 2003. "The Evolution of Income Inequality in Rural China," Working Papers benjamin-04-01, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  10. Kanbur, Ravi & Zhang, Xiaobo, 1999. "Which Regional Inequality? The Evolution of Rural-Urban and Inland-Coastal Inequality in China from 1983 to 1995," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 686-701, December.
  11. Dwayne Benjamin & Loren Brandt & Scott Rozelle, 1998. "Aging, Well-Being, And Social Security In Rural North China," Working Papers benjamin-98-01, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  12. Cox, Donald, 1987. "Motives for Private Income Transfers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(3), pages 508-46, June.
  13. Duclos, Jean-Yves & Araar, Abdelkrim & Giles, John T., 2006. "Chronic and Transient Poverty: Measurement and Estimation, with Evidence from China," IZA Discussion Papers 2078, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Giles, John T. & Mu, Ren, 2006. "Elder Parent Health and the Migration Decision of Adult Children: Evidence from Rural China," IZA Discussion Papers 2333, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. Cai, Fang & Giles, John & Meng, Xin, 2006. "How well do children insure parents against low retirement income? An analysis using survey data from urban China," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(12), pages 2229-2255, December.
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