The role of elders' resources in the receipt of family support in Matlab, Bangladesh
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Family support for the South Asian elderly is usually considered to be given automatically to all, without taking into consideration the available resources of the elder, or their gender and marital status. These assumptions are problematic because they do not accord agency to the elder, nor do they account for their differential access to resources. Elders' own characteristics could play an important role in the transfer of support between generations, and it is likely that these relationships differ by gender and marital status. The main objective of this dissertation is to assess intergenerational transfers in Bangladesh from the perspective of the elderly to provide a benchmark study of the level of support given by adult children, and to examine the role of elders' own resources in intergenerational dynamics. Using a sample of 3354 men and women aged 50 and over from the 1996 Matlab Health and Socio-economic Survey, I use logistic regression techniques to assess the impact of ownership of land and physical functionality on elders' receipt of transfers of space, money and time. I use a theoretical framework that builds on altruism and exchange theory, and the empirical literature, to present factors associated with transfers to elder parents in rural Bangladesh. The results demonstrate that vulnerable elders are receiving support, but, as well, their resources influence their receipt of transfers. Specifically, widows and elders with poor ability to function on a daily basis are likely to receive support from their children in the form of sharing of space and the transfer of money. Married men and widows who own land are more likely to receive money transfers from non-resident children. Gender, marriage and coresidence are important conditioning factors in the receipt of support from adult children.