Family Reciprocal Supports

C. Y. Cyrus Chu and Ruoh‐Rong Yu

in Understanding Chinese Families

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780199578092
Published online February 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722424 | DOI:
Family Reciprocal Supports

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When market mechanism is not perfect and individual risk is high, close‐knit family members may provide their own support; this is basically what is observed in Chinese societies. Empirically, it is found that Chinese family support may not be in the form of a static pooling of income, as was assumed in the existing literature, but rather is characterized by a dynamic relationship of reciprocity: adult children tend to give back to their parents in return for the latter's previous subsidies or child care support. Despite the larger income derivative for the husband than for the wife, an observation consistent with the male‐line filial tradition of Chinese societies, it is found that the response of the couple's feedback to previous subsidies from parents is more significant for the wife's line than the husband's, perhaps because matrilineal downward support is unusual and therefore has a stronger claim to repayment.

Keywords: family support; income pooling; reciprocity; income derivative; intergenerational transfers

Chapter.  9433 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Business and Management

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