Why Do Children Take Care of Their Elderly Parents? Are the Japanese Any Different?
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.
This research uses micro data from the Preference Parameters Study of Osaka University’s 21st Century COE Program ‘Behavioral Macrodynamics Based on Surveys and Experiments’ and its Global COE project ‘Human Behavior and Socioeconomic Dynamics.’ We acknowledge the program/project’s contributors Yoshiro Tsutsui, Fumio Ohtake, and Shinsuke Ikeda. The authors are indebted to Yoko Niimi, Ching-jen Sun, and seminar participants at the American University of Sharjah for their helpful discussions and suggestions. This work was supported by JSPS (Japan Society for the Promotion of Science) KAKENHI Grant Number 15H01950, an Asian Growth Research Institute project grant, and a grant from the MEXT Joint Usage/Research Center for Behavioral Economics, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University. Any remaining errors are the authors’. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
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