Levels of Support from Children in Taiwan: Expectations versus Reality, 1965–99

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Abstract

Both population aging and the socioeconomic changes that often accompany it have effects on intergenerational arrangements. As a result, assessing the evolving social contract among family members is a key part of the research agenda. Studies monitoring these effects and other consequences are relatively new. Another way to gain insight is through a historical analysis that (a) traces how expectations for old-age support have changed over recent decades for cohorts advancing through their life cycle, and (b) measures how well expectations accord with actual patterns. This article uses a series of fertility surveys in Taiwan from 1965 to the 1990s to trace expectations for coresidence among cohorts of young married women and to compare these expectations with the actual living arrangements observed in surveys of the elderly in the 1990s. The results indicate sharp shifts in expectations for each of the cohorts as they aged. These shifts reflect a response to respondents' own life course events and the changing socioeconomic environment and show large and persistent differentials by education throughout the period. These factors tend to bring expectations into fairly close concordance with the actual living arrangements observed some years later.

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