Intergenerational Transfer and Elderly Welfare During the Era of Mobile Communication

Yiyue Huangfu , University of Wisconsin-Madison

Much of Southeast Asia relies on familial exchange to support the health and welfare of aging cohorts. Connectivity between non coresident family members is of increasing importance because urbanization gave rise to migration and family dispersion. During the past two decades, the use of mobile technology spread quickly across the regions, introducing potential changes to exchange in family networks, including support of the elders. I examined the impact of the expansion of cellular technology on elderly welfare using data from the longitudinal Indonesia Family Life Survey that span a rapid expansion of cellular signal across the archipelago. I demonstrate that elders benefit from transfers from non coresident adult children. Using georeferenced data on the cellular signal expansion, I found that adult children’s, instead of elders’ signal coverage had impact on transfers and elderly welfare. These point to new insights on elderly welfare and the connectivity between non coresident family members.

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 Presented in Session 9. Marriage, Family, Households, & Unions; Gender, Race, & Ethnicity