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Altruism and the Care of Elderly Parents

Miki Kohara and Fumio Ohtake ()

Japanese Economy, 2011, vol. 38, issue 2, 3-18

Abstract: This study analyzes what adult children will do for their parents if they become frail and need long-term care. Descriptive statistics show that about 30 percent of adult children living separately from their parents provide long-term in-home care, which suggests that a significant number of Japanese children supply care. However, detailed examination reveals that this parental care is not motivated entirely by altruism. Children may provide parental care when their parents are wealthy enough to meet the costs of nursing. The results suggest that as the number of dual-income couples increases, they are able to give more money to their parents but not more time. A potentially large demand for market care services exists and will possibly increase. The results also suggest that the empirical results based only on money transfer may be misleading. Empirical results on time as well as money transfer should be compiled, and explanations found for any difference between the two behaviors.

Date: 2011
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DOI: 10.2753/JES1097-203X380201

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