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The Impact of Social Pensions on Intergenerational Relationships: Comparative Evidence from China

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  • Chen, Xi
  • Eggleston, Karen
  • Ang, Sun

Abstract

China launched a new rural pension scheme (hereafter NRPS) for rural residents in 2009, now covering almost all counties with over 400 million people enrolled. This implementation of the largest social pension program in the world offers a unique setting for studying the economics of intergenerational relationships during development, given the rapidity of China’s population aging, traditions of filial piety and co-residence, decreasing number of children, and dearth of formal social security, at a relatively low income level. We draw on rich household surveys from two provinces at distinct development stages – impoverished Guizhou and relatively well-off Shandong – to better understand heterogeneity in the impact of pension benefits. Employing a fuzzy regression discontinuity design, we find that around the pension eligibility age cut-off, the NRPS significantly reduces intergenerational co-residence, especially between elderly parents and their adults sons; promotes pensioners’ healthcare service consumption; and weakens (but does not supplant) non-pecuniary and pecuniary transfers across three generations. These effects are much larger in less developed Guizhou province.

Suggested Citation

  • Chen, Xi & Eggleston, Karen & Ang, Sun, 2017. "The Impact of Social Pensions on Intergenerational Relationships: Comparative Evidence from China," GLO Discussion Paper Series 53, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:53
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    Cited by:

    1. Nikolov, Plamen & Adelman, Alan, 2019. "Do Private Household Transfers to the Elderly Respond to Public Pension Benefits? Evidence from Rural China," GLO Discussion Paper Series 357, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    2. Bradley, Elizabeth & Chen, Xi & Tang, Gaojie, 2020. "Social security expansion and neighborhood cohesion: Evidence from community-living older adults in China," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 15(C).
    3. Chen, Xi & Wang, Tianyu & Busch, Susan H., 2019. "Does money relieve depression? Evidence from social pension expansions in China," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 220(C), pages 411-420.
    4. Chen, Xi & Hu, Lipeng & Sindelar, Jody L., 2020. "Leaving money on the table? Suboptimal enrollment in the new social pension program in China," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 15(C).
    5. Myerson, Rebecca & Lu, Tianyi & Yuan, Yong & Liu, Gordon, 2020. "The impact of government income transfers on tobacco and alcohol use: Evidence from China," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 186(C).
    6. Hanming Fang & Jin Feng, 2018. "The Chinese Pension System," NBER Working Papers 25088, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Zhaohua Zhang & Yuxi Luo & Derrick Robinson, 2020. "Do Social Pensions Help People Living on the Edge? Assessing Determinants of Vulnerability to Food Poverty Among the Rural Elderly," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan;European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), vol. 32(1), pages 198-219, January.
    8. Nikolov, Plamen & Adelman, Alan, 2019. "Do private household transfers to the elderly respond to public pension benefits? Evidence from rural China," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 14(C).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social pensions; intergenerational relationships; regional comparisons; co-residence; old-age care; service consumption; transfers;

    JEL classification:

    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • R28 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Government Policy

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