Schools, Schooling, and Children’s Support of Their Aging Parents

Sarah R. Brauner-Otto, University of Michigan

Intergenerational transfers play an important role for most individuals across the life course. I construct a new theoretical framework for understanding how changes in educational context influence children’s support of their parents. I pull together theories on individualization, care of the elderly, intergenerational transfers, the social modes of organization framework, and wealth flows theories to study the relationship between social context and adult children’s support of their aging parents. By examining educational context across the life course this paper provides new information on the mechanisms through which changes in social context influence children’s support of their parents. I find that childhood exposure to schools has long-term effects on receipt of support from children, regardless of parents' educational enrollment, children’s educational enrollment, and later exposure to schools. Findings support (1) a long-term personality effect of early exposure to non-family organizations and (2) Caldwell’s theory of wealth flows.

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Presented in Session 70: Intergenerational Transfers: New Evidence from Developing Countries