Intergenerational cohabitation in modern Indonesia: filial support and dependence.

Research paper by Meliyanni M Johar, Shiko S Maruyama

Indexed on: 29 Jan '11Published on: 29 Jan '11Published in: Health Economics


Informal filial care plays an important role for elderly parents facing health challenges. Ageing, however, exacerbates the burden of filial care because the ratio of older to younger individuals is higher and disabled parents live longer. The well-being of elderly parents is even more insecure in Asian developing countries that are undergoing unprecedented ageing and drastic changes in social norms and values, whereas old-age support systems have yet to be developed. In this paper, we investigate factors that influence cohabitation decision by elderly parents and their adult children using the longitudinal Indonesian Family Life Survey (IFLS). Focusing on new cohabitation in which a parent who lives independently starts to cohabitate with a child, we conduct transition analysis to make a more convincing causal interpretation than the standard cross-sectional approach. We find that, while parental needs are important, cohabitation is influenced to a larger extent by the costs and gains of children. The elderly facing health and economic challenges are at higher risk of not receiving filial support than other elderly individuals.