Tag Archive: CHARLS

Coauthored with Xiaoyan Lei, John Giles, Albert Park, John Strauss and Yaohui Zhao. Full paper link here. 

Using the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study 2008 pilot, this paper analyzes the patterns and correlates of intergenerational transfers between elderly parents and adult children in Zhejiang and Gansu Provinces. The pilot is a unique data source from China that provides information on the direction as well as amount of transfers between parents and each of their children, and clearly distinguishes transfers between parents and children from those among other relatives or friends. The paper shows that transfers flow predominantly from children to elderly parents, with transfers from children playing an important role in elderly support. Taking advantage of the rich information available in this survey, the authors find strong evidence that transfers are significantly affected by the financial capabilities of individual children. Educated and married children have a higher tendency to provide transfers to their parents; and oldest sons are less likely to provide transfers than their younger brothers. With future continued rapid economic growth in China, the income disadvantage of the elderly will persist and upward generational transfers will likely remain the most common form of private transfers. In the absence of some other source of elderly support (such as a public pension or own savings), the dwindling number of children implies that the financial burden associated with supporting the elderly is likely to increase.



Coauthored with Xiaoyan Lei, James P. Smith and Yaohui Zhao. Full paper link here.

Using the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS) 2008 pilot, the authors investigate the relationship between cognitive abilities and social activities for people aged 45 or older. They group cognition measures into two dimensions: intact mental status and episodic memory. Social activities are defined as participating in certain common specified activities in China such as playing chess, card games, or Mahjong, interacting with friends, and other social activities. OLS association results show that playing Mahjong, chess or card games and interacting with friends are significantly related with episodic memory, both individually and taken as a whole (any of the 3 activities), but individually they are not related to mental intactness while taken as a whole they are. Because social activities may be endogenous, they further investigate using OLS reduced form models whether having facilities that enables social activities in the community level is related to cognition. They find that having an activity center in the community is significantly related to higher episodic memory but no relation to mental intactness. These results point to a possible causal relationship between social activities and cognitive function, especially in strengthening short-term memory.

First draft, criticism and suggestions are welcome 🙂 Thank Jim, Prof. Lei, and Prof. Zhao.

The full paper link: click here

In this paper, we model gender differences in cognitive ability in China using a new sample of middle-aged and older Chinese respondents. Modeled after the American Health and Retirement Survey (HRS), the CHARLS Pilot survey respondents are 45 years and older in two quite distinct provinces—Zhejiang a high growth industrialized province on the East Coast, and Gansu, a largely agricultural and poor Province in the West. Our measures of cognition in CHARLS relies on two measures that proxy for different dimensions of adult cognition—episodic memory and intact mental status. We relate both these childhood health measures to adult health and SES outcomes during the adult years. We find large cognitive differences to the detriment of women that were mitigated by large gender differences in education among these generations of Chinese people. These gender differences in cognition are especially concentrated within poorer communities in China with gender difference being more sensitive to community level attributes than to family level attributes, with economic resources. In traditional poor Chinese communities, there are strong economic incentives to favor boys at the expense of girls not only in their education outcomes, but in their nutrition and eventually their adult height. These gender cognitive differences have been steadily decreasing across birth cohorts as the economy of China grew rapidly. Among younger cohorts of young adults in China, there is no longer any gender disparity in cognitive ability.