Three essays in family economics

TitleThree essays in family economics
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsChan, KHo
AdvisorCox, D
Number of Pages134
Date PublishedJan 2013
UniversityBoston College
Thesis TypePh.D.
Accession Number1424274213
KeywordsAdult children, Cross-National, Event History/Life Cycle, Methodology, Retirement Planning and Satisfaction

This dissertation contains three essays. It provides analysis on issues concerning about family economics. The first essay investigates issues about intergenerational transfer in China. Does parental support in China respond to low income of the elderly? Intergenerational transfers from adult children to their parents are thought to contribute a significant portion of old-age support in China. With a fast growing elder population and an increasing old-age dependency ratio, it is important to understand these transfers. This study investigates the determining factors of intergenerational transfers in China. This line of research is still lacking due to the scarcity of detailed household data. Past studies on private transfers in China could not differentiate between intergenerational versus intragenerational transfers. Using pilot data from the newly released China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS), I found that around half of the sampled households received transfers from adult children and the amount of transfer is as much as two-thirds of household income per capita. Data also showed that poorer households are more likely to receive transfers. Data suggested that people in the poor province (Gansu) have a higher degree of dependence on adult children, as the source of providing old-age support and living arrangement. Seeing how private transfers are large, widespread, and responsive to income, the benefits from instituting appropriate public policy would likely accrue in part to younger generations by lessening their burden of familial support. The second essay examines the effect of social father on the well-being of out-of-wedlock children. Social fathers, defined as stepfathers or unrelated cohabiting romantic partners of biological mothers, have become more widespread as a result of the increasing out-of-wedlock childbearing. With more young children living with social fathers, it is important to understand the effect of social fathers on the well-being of children. Previous research focused more on such effect on older children or adolescents. Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS), I find that children with social fathers scored around three points less in a cognitive ability test than children living only with biological mothers. I used the propensity score matching method to address the selection issue for which the child's mother self-selected into having a new partner. Social fathers will be more common because of the widespread of non-marital births. Any negative effect caused by the social fathers will affect a large portion of child population. The third essay evaluates the association between the timing of parenthood and the timing of retirement. Is late parenting associated with late retirement? The trend of parenthood timing is under drastic change. The birth rate for women aged 30-34 rose from 52.3 births per 1000 women in 1975 to 96.5 births per 1000 women in 2010 while the birth rate for women aged 20-24 went down from 113 births to 90 births per 1000 women during the same period. The children may still be very young when their parents enter their retirement age. In the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), 20% of respondents' children lived with them while nearly 30% of these children were below 18 years of age. Despite the potential importance of this issue, economists have not done much research on it. Using the HRS, this study found that parents who have their first child before or at age 30 retire earlier than parents who have their first child after age 30. This positive association holds for different sub-groups of the sample. With significant portion of people delaying their parenthood and a large group of people entering their retiring age, it is very important for policy makers and economists to understand how the timing of parenthood associates with the timing of retirement.


Copyright - Copyright ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing 2013 Last updated - 2013-08-23 First page - n/a

Endnote Keywords

Individual and family studies

Endnote ID


Short TitleThree essays in family economics
Citation Key6247