Grandparents' financial contributions to grandchildren in Rural China: The role of remittances, household structure, and patrilineal culture

Merril Silverstein, Wencheng Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objectives: This investigation examined predictors of monetary transfers made by grandparents for the benefit of their grandchildren in rural China. Predictors included family factors related to financial supply (remittances received from the parents of grandchildren), household demand (living in a skipped-generation household), and patrilineal culture (targeting sons and grandsons). Method: The 2015 wave of the Longitudinal Study of Older Adults in Anhui Province was used to study financial transfers made by 831 grandparents to grandchildren in the families of 1,633 parents. Two-part random-effects regression was used to predict whether a transfer was made and the value of transfers, given that one occurred. Results: Grandparents provided higher value transfers to grandchildren whose parents provided greater remittances and with whom they coresided in skipped-generation households. The likelihood of making a transfer fully followed the male lineage, and was greatest to grandson-only families in which parents were first-born sons. Discussion: Results show that economic, household, and cultural factors are independently associated with the largesse of grandparents. We conclude that grandparents' economic contributions to grandchildren in rural China are shaped by family demands in a highly mobile society, intergenerational interdependence, and a persistent patrilineal gender system that reaches to the level of grandchildren.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1042-1052
Number of pages11
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Volume75
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 16 2020

Keywords

  • China
  • Financial transfers
  • Gender
  • Grandparents
  • Intergenerational

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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