Intergenerational transfers towards adult children and elderly parents

Hans Hämäläinen & Antti O. Tanskanen


This study investigated intergenerational transfers by the sandwich generation towards adult children and elderly parents. Using data on generational transmissions in Finland from a 2012 survey, we employed family fixed effect regressions and investigated whether the Finnish baby boomers (age 62–67 years) provided more support towards their adult children than towards their elderly parents. Four forms of intergenerational transfers were considered: financial aid, practical help, care, and emotional closeness. Emotional support, care, and financial aid were directed more often towards adult children than elderly parents. In contrast, practical help was directed more often towards elderly parents than adult children. The results regarding the direction of investments were similar among women and men. However, women were emotionally closer to their adult children than were men and provided more care to both elderly parents and adult children, while men gave more practical help to children than did women. Finally, the downward transfers were directed more often towards daughters than to sons by women (emotional closeness and childcare) and men (practical help and childcare). Women directed upward investment more often towards mothers than fathers (emotional closeness and care). The results are discussed with reference to reproductive value and intergenerational stake hypotheses.

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