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Discoveries in the Economics of Aging$
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David A. Wise

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226146096

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226146126.001.0001

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Grandpa and the Snapper

Grandpa and the Snapper

The Well-Being of the Elderly Who Live with Children

Chapter:
(p.283) 8 Grandpa and the Snapper
Source:
Discoveries in the Economics of Aging
Author(s):

Angus Deaton

Arthur A. Stone

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226146126.003.0009

Elderly Americans who live with people under age 18 have lower life evaluations than those who do not. They also experience worse emotional outcomes, including less happiness and enjoyment, and more stress, worry, and anger. In part, these negative outcomes come from selection into living with a child, especially selection on poor health, which is associated with worse outcomes irrespective of living conditions. Even with controls, the elderly who live with children do worse. This is in sharp contrast to younger adults who live with children, likely their own, whose life evaluation is no different in the presence of the child once background conditions are controlled for. Parents, like elders, have enhanced negative emotions in the presence of a child, but unlike elders, also have enhanced positive emotions. In parts of the world where fertility rates are higher, the elderly do not appear to have lower life evaluations when they live with children; such living arrangements are more usual, and the selection into them is less negative. They also share with younger adults the enhanced positive and negative emotions that come with children. The misery of the elderly living with children is one of the prices of the demographic transition.

Keywords:   living with a child, poor health, life evaluation, enhanced negative emotions, enhanced positive emotions, lower life evaluations, demographic transition

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