Why Do Children Take Care of Their Elderly Parents? Are the Japanese Any Different?

Charles Yuji Horioka, Emin Gahramanov, Aziz Hayat, Xueli Tang

NBER Working Paper No. 22245
Issued in May 2016
NBER Program(s):Aging, Health Economics

In this paper, we conduct a theoretical analysis of why individuals provide care and attention to their elderly parents using a two-period overlapping generations model with endogenous saving and a “contest success function” and test this model using micro data from a Japanese household survey, the Osaka University Preference Parameter Study. To summarize our main findings, we find that the Japanese are more likely to live with (or near) their elderly parents and/or to provide care and attention to them if they expect to receive a bequest from them, which constitutes strong support for the selfish bequest motive or the exchange motive (much stronger than in the United States), but we find that their caregiving behavior is also heavily influenced by the strength of their altruism toward their parents and social norms.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w22245

Published: Charles Yuji Horioka & Emin Gahramanov & Aziz Hayat & Xueli Tang, 2018. "WHY DO CHILDREN TAKE CARE OF THEIR ELDERLY PARENTS? ARE THE JAPANESE ANY DIFFERENT?," International Economic Review, vol 59(1), pages 113-136. citation courtesy of

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