Patterns of Intergenerational Transfers in Southeast Asia

By Frankenberg, Elizabeth; Lillard, Lee et al. | Journal of Marriage and Family, August 2002 | Go to article overview

Patterns of Intergenerational Transfers in Southeast Asia


Frankenberg, Elizabeth, Lillard, Lee, Willis, Robert J., Journal of Marriage and Family


This article explores motivations for intergenerational exchanges of time and money using data from Indonesia. The extent of exchange and underlying motivations differ across families but substantial evidence supports the theory that transfers within families serve as insurance for family members. The results also suggest that between some parents and children money is exchanged for time. Additionally, some evidence is consistent with the idea that parents pay for their children's education partly as a loan that is later repaid. The authors compare their results to those that they obtained previously for Malaysia using similar data and methods. The findings regarding motivations for transfers are remarkably similar across the two countries.

Key Words: aging, Asia, exchange, family, transfers.

The family is a critical social institution in providing support to its members. The effects on this support of changes in family structures, such as longer life expectancies and greater diversity of family forms, are hotly debated in academic and policy circles (Bengtson, 2001). One function families provide is the transfer of resources-both time and money-among family members. Scientific inquiry into transfers across generations encompasses macro and micro perspectives. A considerable literature addresses the evolution of transfer patterns as societies industrialize, pass through the demographic transition, and develop more sophisticated public and private financial services (Cowgill & Holmes, 1972; Goode, 1963; Parsons, 1943; Ruggles, 1987; Willis, 1982). Other research models decision making within families to generate predictions about transfer behavior (Becker, 1974, 1991; Becker & Tomes, 1976; Cox, 1987).

Complementing theoretical work, empirical analyses consider how characteristics of parents and children are related to transfer behavior. In most developing countries families are the primary source of support for aging individuals. The policy salience of family transfer behavior has increased in the developing world as the share of the elderly population rises but government and private mechanisms of old age support remain limited. Families as a source of old age support have received particular attention in Asia, where populations are aging rapidly (Hermalin, 1997; Kinsella, 2000; Knodel & Debavalya, 1997; Knodel, Friedman, Ahn, & Cuong, 2000; Martin, 1989).

We examine interhousehold transfers between adult children and their parents in Indonesia. The analyses test hypotheses of models of motives for intergenerational transfers. To fully explore these models, one must consider the overall process of exchange rather than limiting analysis to a narrow demographic group, a discrete type of support, or transfers in one direction (Hogan, Eggebean, & Clogg, 1993). We consider giving and receiving, of time and money, from the perspectives of parents and adult children. Thorough analysis also requires detailed data on both generations. We use extremely rich data from the Indonesia Family Life Survey.

We set the stage for our analysis of Indonesia by describing results obtained for Malaysia (Lillard & Willis, 1997b). The comparison is interesting because the countries are sufficiently similar to suggest common patterns of transfers and underlying motivations for them. Moreover, because the data from the two countries are almost identical, the comparison is relatively free from the differences in data set content and methods that often hinder cross-country comparisons.

THEORIES

Several family theories address motivations for family transfers and generate hypotheses regarding the empirical relationships of characteristics of parents and children to transfers between them. In a model of the family developed by Becker (1974, 1991) each household's head allocates resources among family members so that no one can be made better off without making someone else worse off. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Patterns of Intergenerational Transfers in Southeast Asia
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.