Stability and Change in Patterns of Intergenerational Transfers in Taiwan

  • I-Fen Lin
  • Noreen Goldman
  • Maxine Weinstein
  • Yu-Hsuan Lin
Part of the International Studies In Population book series (ISIP, volume 3)

In this study, we use a unique data set that follows a cohort of more than two thousand Taiwanese older adults over a 10-year period to assess stability in intergenerational transfers. Specifically, we raise two questions in this paper: first, do patterns of transfers in the same family change over time? Second, how are ageing parents’ demographic, social, and economic characteristics associated with changes in the patterns of transfers?

Historically, Taiwan has been a patriarchal society that places a great emphasis on obedience to, and respect for, older family members. Traditionally, adult sons have been expected to bear the major responsibility for regular care and support of their parents. Ageing parents’ coresidence with a married son has been a dominant and preferred living arrangement.


Adult Child Household Chore Marital Disruption Intergenerational Transfer Married Parent 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Agree, E. M., Biddlecom, A. E., and Valente, T. W. (2005), “Intergenerational transfers of resources between older persons and extended kin in Taiwan and the Philippines.” Population Studies, 59(2):181-195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Becker, G. (1991), A Treatise on the Family. Harvard University Press: Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  3. Beckett, M., Goldman, N., Weinstein, M., Lin, I.-F., and Chuang, Y.-L. (2002), “Social environment, life challenge, and health among the elderly in Taiwan.” Social Science and Medicine, 55(2):191-209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chang, M.-C. (1999), “A longitudinal study on living arrangements of the elderly in Taiwan.” In: Emerg-ing Social Economic Welfare Programs for Aging in Taiwan in a World Context, Chaonan Chen, Albert I. Hermalin, Sheng-Cheng Hu and Hames P. Smith, eds. pp. 43-64. Institute of Economics, Academia Sinica: Taipei, Taiwan.Google Scholar
  5. Chattopadhyay, A. and Marsh, R. (1999), “Changes in living arrangement and familial support for the elderly in Taiwan: 1963-1991.” Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 30(3):523-537.Google Scholar
  6. Cox, D. and Rank, M. R. (1992), “Inter-vivos transfers and intergenerational exchange.” Review of Economics and Statistics, 74:305-314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Eggebeen, D. J. (1992), “Family structure and intergenerational exchanges.” Research on Aging, 14(4):427-447.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Eggebeen, D. J. and Dennis P. H. (1990), “Giving between generations in American families.” Human Nature, 1(3):211-232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Furstenberg, F. F. Jr., Hoffman, S. D., and Shrestha, L. (1995), “The effect of divorce on intergenerational transfers: New evidence.” Demography, 32(3):319-333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gouldner, A. W. (1960), “The norm of reciprocity: A preliminary statement.” American Sociological Review, 25:161-178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Greenberg, M. S. (1980), “A theory of indebtedness.” In: Social Exchange: Advances in Theory and Research, Kenneth J. Gergen, Martin S. Greenberg and Richard H. Willis, eds. pp. 3-26. Plenum Press: New York.Google Scholar
  12. Hashimoto, A. (1996), The Gift of Generations: Japanese and American Perspectives on Aging and the Social Contract. Cambridge University Press: New York.Google Scholar
  13. Henretta, J. C., Hill M. S., Li W., Soldo, B. J., and Wolf, D. A. (1997), “Selection of children to provide care: The effect of earlier parental transfers.” Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 52B:S110-S119.Google Scholar
  14. Hermalin, A. I., Ofstedal, M. B., and Chi, L. (1992), “Kin availability of the elderly in Taiwan: Who is available and where are they?” Population Studies Center Report No. 92-18. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan.Google Scholar
  15. Hermalin, A. I., Ofstedal, M. B., and Lee, M.-L. (1992), “Characteristics of children and intergenerational trans-fers.” Comparative Study of the Elderly in Asia Research Report No. 92-21, University of Michigan, MI: Ann Arbor.Google Scholar
  16. Hermalin, A. I., Ofstedal, M. B., and Chang, M.-C. (1996), “Types of supports for the aged and their providers in Taiwan.” In: Aging and Generational Relations over the Life Course: A Historical and Cross-Cultural Perspective. Tamara K. Hareven, ed. pp. 400-437. Walter de Gruyter: New York.Google Scholar
  17. Hsu, H.-C., Lew-Ting, C.-Y., and Wu, S.-C. (2001), “Age, period, and cohort effects on the attitude toward supporting parents in Taiwan.” The Gerontologist, 41(6):742-750.Google Scholar
  18. Lee, M.-L., Lin, H.-S., and Chang, M.-C. (1995), “Living arrangements of the elderly in Taiwan: Qualitative evidence.” Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology, 10:53-78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lee, Y.-J., Parish, W. L., and Willis, R. J. (1994), “Sons, daughters, and intergenerational support in Taiwan.” American Journal of Sociology, 4:1010-1041.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lee, Y.-J. and Xiao, Z. (1998), “Children’s support for elderly parents in urban and rural China: Results from a national survey.” Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology, 13:39-62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lillard, L. A. and Willis, R. J. (1997), “Motives for intergenerational transfers: Evidence from Malaysia.” Demography, 34(1):115-134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lin, I.-F., Goldman, N., Weinstein, M., Lin, Y.-H., Gorrindo, T., and Seeman T. (2003), “Gender differences in adult children’s support of their parents in Taiwan.” Journal of Marriage and Family, 65(1):184-200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Litwak, E. (1985), Helping the Elderly: The Complementary Roles of Informal Networks and Formal System. The Guilford Press: New York.Google Scholar
  24. Logan, J. R. and Spitz, G. D. (1996), Family Ties: Enduring Relations between Parents and Their Grown Children. Temple University Press: Philadelphia.Google Scholar
  25. McGarry, K. and Schoeni, R. F. (1995), “Transfer behavior in the health and retirement study: Measurement and the redistribution of resources within the family.” Journal of Human Resources, 30:S184-S226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Pezzin, L. E. and Schone, B. S. (1999), “Parental marital disruption and intergenerational transfers: An analysis of lone elderly parents and their children.” Demography, 36(3):287-297.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Republic of China National Statistics. (2006), Available at http://www. .
  28. Riley, M. W. (1983), “The family in an aging society: A matrix of latent relationships.” Journal of Family Issues, 4:439-454.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Roan, C. L., Hermalin, A. I., and Ofstedal, M. B. (1996), “Intergenerational contact and support in Taiwan: A comparison of elderly parents’ and children’s reports.” Population Studies Center Report No. 96-36. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan.Google Scholar
  30. Silverstein, M. (1995), “Stability and change in temporal distance between the elderly and their children.” Demography, 32(1):29-45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Silverstein, M., Conroy, S. J. Wang, H., Giarrusso R., and Bengtson, V. L. (2002), “Reciprocity in parent-child relations over the adult life course.” Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 57B(1):S3-S13.Google Scholar
  32. Soldo, B. J. and Hill, M. S. (1995), “Family structure and transfer measures in the health and retirement study.” The Journal of Human Resources, 30:S108-S137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. StataCorp. (2001), Stata Statistical Software: Release 7. 0. College Station, TX: Stata Corporation.Google Scholar
  34. Sun, T.-H. and Liu, Y.-H. (1994), “Changes in intergenerational relations in the chinese family: Taiwan’s experience.” In: Tradition and Change in the Asian Family, Lee-Jay Cho and Moto Yada, eds. pp. 319-361. The East-West Center: Hawaii.Google Scholar
  35. Taiwan Provincial Institute of Family Planning and Institute of Gerontology University of Michigan. (1989), 1989 Survey of Health and Living Status of the Elderly in Taiwan: Questionnaire and Survey Design. Comparative Study of the Elderly in Asia Research Report No. 1, University of Michigan. MI: Ann Arbor.Google Scholar
  36. Thibaut, J. W. and Kelley, H. H. (1959), The Social Psychology of Groups. Wiley: New York.Google Scholar
  37. Weinstein, M., Sun, T.-H., Chang, M.-C., and Freedman, R. (1990), “Household composition, extended kinship, and reproduction in Taiwan: 1965-1985.” Population Studies, 44:217-239.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Whitbeck, L. B., Simmons, R. L. and Conger, R. D. (1991). “The effects of early family relationships on contemporary relationships and assistance patterns between adult children and their parents.” Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 46(6):S330-S337.Google Scholar
  39. Whitbeck, L. B., Hoyt, D. R., and Huck, S. M. (1994), “Early family relationships, intergenerational solidarity, and support provided to parents by their adult children.” Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 49(2):S85-S94.Google Scholar
  40. Yang, H. (1996), “The distributive norm of monetary support to older parents: A look at a township in China.” Journal of Marriage and the Family, 58:404-415.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • I-Fen Lin
  • Noreen Goldman
  • Maxine Weinstein
  • Yu-Hsuan Lin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Health, Bureau of Health PromotionSurvey Research Centre for Population and HealthTaiwan

Personalised recommendations