Financial Transfers from Adult Children to Elderly Parents in China: Comparing Altruism with Exchange Models of Intergenerational Relations

Melanie S. Brasher, Dickinson College

Policy makers in China often express concern over a decline in filial piety, and a consequent decline in support for elderly parents. While this claim is frequently voiced, few studies are able to directly test the association between attitudes towards filial piety and expression of filial piety in the form of support to aging parents. This paper tests whether adult children who agree more strongly with traditional family values are more likely to support elderly parents with financial transfers. In addition, this paper compares altruism (which includes filial piety) models and exchange models (corporate group and mutual aid) to assess their relative strengths in predicting presence of and amount of financial transfers from adult children to parents in China. Data come from the Social Dynamics Survey of the Adult-Child Family in China (“SDSCF”), 2002 wave, a sub-sample of the CLHLS.

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Presented in Poster Session 1: Marriage, Unions, Families and Households