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Intergenerational Exchanges - Changes Over The Life Course

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Exchanges of assistance vary in patterned ways over the life course of both parents and children. One of the surest ways to receive parental support is to have a child. Giving to children is also affected by changes in the lives of parents. Most significantly, as parents age, they tend to give less to their children. Much of this decline in giving can be explained by factors associated with aging (e.g., declines in health, death of spouse, changing needs of children). Yet, there is evidence that this gradual decline in the likelihood of giving help to children persists even when these other factors are taken into account.

Finally, and inevitably, the death of the parent leads to an inheritance of the parent's estate. This "final" intergenerational transfer has received significantly less attention from researchers. Available evidence indicates that parents typically treat their children equally in bequests. However, at least one study shows that those who did not give equally did not systematically give more to children with lower earnings.




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