Intergenerational Support in Contemporary Urban China

Yu Xie, University of Michigan
Haiyan Zhu, University of Michigan

In this paper, we empirically test, in the Chinese context, three hypotheses based on three standard explanations for intergenerational support: the power model, the exchange model, and the altruism model. Our study is based on data from a survey ("Study of Family Life in Urban China") that we conducted in 1999 in three Chinese cities (Shanghai, Wuhan, and Xi’an). We show that cultural beliefs about supporting the elderly, measured both for the elderly generation and for their adult children, explain a significant proportion of the variation in intergenerational support.

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Presented in Session 108: Intergenerational Wealth Transmission