Parental Marital Disruption, Family Type, and Transfers to Disabled Elderly Parents

36 Pages Posted: 25 Nov 2008

See all articles by Liliana E. Pezzin

Liliana E. Pezzin

Medical College of Wisconsin - Department of Medicine

Robert A. Pollak

Washington University in St. Louis - John M. Olin Business School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Barbara Steinberg Schone

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - Center for Cost and Financing Studies - Agency for Health Care Policy & Research (AHCPR); Georgetown Public Policy Institute

Abstract

This paper examines the family variables that affect intergenerational living arrangements and adult children's time and cash transfers to their unpartnered disabled elderly parents. The family variables we examine include parental marital status, parental marital history, whether the index child is a step child or a biological child of the parent, and whether the index child's siblings are step children or biological children of the parent. Using data from the Health and Retirement Studies - Asset and Health Dynamics Among the Oldest Old (HRS-AHEAD) surveys, we estimate the joint probabilities that an adult child provides time and/or cash transfers to a parent and analyze a five-level categorical variable capturing parent-child living arrangements. Parameter estimates suggest significant detrimental effects of parental divorce and step relationship on time transfers and on the probability of coresidence with the index child. The composition of the index child's sibling network also affects transfers and living arrangement choices of adult children. Our findings suggest that demographic changes are weakening the traditional role of the family as a support network. Because more recent cohorts of elderly persons have experienced substantially higher rates of divorce, remarriage, and step parenthood than the cohort considered in this study, our findings raise concerns about the future availability of family care.

Keywords: aging, intergenerational transfers, long-term care, family

JEL Classification: I10, J14

Suggested Citation

Pezzin, Liliana E. and Pollak, Robert A. and Steinberg Schone, Barbara, Parental Marital Disruption, Family Type, and Transfers to Disabled Elderly Parents. IZA Discussion Paper No. 3826, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1305810 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0042-7092.2007.00700.x

Liliana E. Pezzin (Contact Author)

Medical College of Wisconsin - Department of Medicine ( email )

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Robert A. Pollak

Washington University in St. Louis - John M. Olin Business School ( email )

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CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

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IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Barbara Steinberg Schone

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - Center for Cost and Financing Studies - Agency for Health Care Policy & Research (AHCPR) ( email )

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Georgetown Public Policy Institute ( email )

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