Abstract

Although one of the most marked demographic trends observed over the twentieth century is the increased rate of divorce, relatively little research has explored the effects of these changing marital patterns in the context of an aging society. Using a sample of lone elderly parents and their adult children, we analyze the direct and indirect effects of marital disruption on four important dimensions of intergenerational transfers: coresidence, financial assistance, adult children’s provision of informal care, and parental purchase of paid care. Our findings suggest that divorce has deleterious effects on intergenerational transfers, particularly for elderly fathers. Remarriage further reduces exchange. Our results reveal that parents engage in lower levels of transfers with stepchildren relative to biological children. Moreover, intergenerational transfers are sensitive to characteristics of biological children but not to those of stepchildren. Taken together, these results suggest that exchange at the end of the life course continues to be adversely affected by marital disruption

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