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PhD DissertationPDF


Title:Intergenerational Caregiving between Parents and Their Adult Children: Evidence from a Study of Older Americans
Author(s):Yoon, Wonah
Contributor(s):Lyons, Angela C.
Subject(s):intergenerational caregiving
institutional health care
Medicaid, Medicare
long-term care insurance
intergenerational resource transfers
Abstract:As the population of older Americans rapidly increases and the costs of institutional health care rise, there is much concern about how to satisfy the future care needs of older Americans. As these demographic and socioeconomic trends are coupled with limitations on federal funds for public health care programs, policymakers are focusing on promoting family care to moderate the larger potential cost of America’s public health care programs, like Medicaid or Medicare. Also, new support programs are being developed to expand the number of people with private long-term care (LTC) insurance. Thus, understanding families’ elderly caregiving decisions and their LTC plan will provide important information about the efficiency of these policies. The purpose of the first dissertation essay, entitled “Motivation of Intergenerational Resource Transfers,” is to examine the motives behind adult children’s resource transfers to elderly parents. This paper highlights two prominent motivations: Altruism and Exchange. These alternative motives are examined by testing empirical predictions derived from theoretical models. Specifically, the effects of children’s income, parents’ wealth, and bequest possibility on children’s money and time transfers are examined by estimating a simultaneous two-equation model that incorporates both time and money transfers. In sum, the results show that most parameter estimates of money and time transfers are consistent with the comparative static predictions from the altruism model. Particularly, in both the non-competitive parents and the competitive parents groups, parents who were better off financially than their adult children were less likely to receive both money and time transfers. However, with respect to transfers to noncompetitive parents, empirical results related to children’s unearned income and bequest possibility from parents provided little evidence to support any single type of motivation between altruism and exchange. The second essay is titled “Do the Long-Term Care Needs of Aging Parents Affect Adult Children’s Purchase of LTC Insurance?” and examines how adult children’s LTC insurance purchases are affected by the presence of elderly parents who require LTC services. To acquire this knowledge, this study uses an empirical analysis of factors influencing decisions to purchase new LTC insurance policies, centered on the effect of adult children’s experiences related to parents who need care. The results show that the presence of parents who lived in a nursing home had a positive effect on children’s insurance purchases, whereas the presence of parents who required LTC services had a negative effect. Additionally, children were less likely to purchase LTC insurance when their parents cohabitated in the household of a family member or received informal caregiving. These results suggest that adult children’s observation of their parents’ LTC requirements seems to influence their own insurance purchases differently according to their parents’ specific situation. The third dissertation essay, “Resource Transfers of Married Households to Parents According to Decision-Making Power,” investigates whether intra-household bargaining power affects couples’ caregiving decisions during instances of competing parental demands for assistance. The primary focus is on examining how partners’ bargaining power influences the relative allocation of time resources between parents and parents-in-law, assuming that children prefer to transfer caregiving resources toward their own parents over their parents-in-law. The findings in this study reject the bargaining theory that couple’s parental care behavior results from a bargaining process between the husband and the wife. More specifically, the results did not clearly show that children prefer to transfer caregiving resources toward their own parents over their parents-in-law. Decision-making power, measured by final decision-making authority, also failed to affect the relative care transfers.
Issue Date:2009-12
Genre:Dissertation / Thesis
Publication Status:unpublished
Peer Reviewed:not peer reviewed
Date Available in IDEALS:2010-02-04

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