Intergenerational transfers towards adult children and elderly parents

Mirkka Danielsbacka & Antti O. Tanskanen


In this paper, we investigate whether the investments of divorced, remarried or widowed grandparents differ from those of never-divorced grandparents and whether the effect of marital status is different between grandfathers and grandmothers. Grandparental investment is measured by childcare, contact frequencies, practical help and the financial support grandparents give to their offspring. The investigation is based on the Generational Transmissions in Finland 2012 survey, which includes 1,441 grandparents aged between 62 and 67 years. We found that among married (never-divorced), divorced and remarried grandparents, the grandmothers were significantly more involved than grandfathers, except in the case of practical help provided to children, which married (never divorced) grandfathers provided more than grandmothers. Both divorce and remarriage were associated with reduced child care help and reduced contacts between grandfathers and their grandchildren. In addition, remarried and widowed grandfathers provided significantly less practical and financial help to their offspring compared to their never-divorced counterparts. Among grandmothers, remarriage was associated with reduced child care help and contact, and divorce with reduced financial help when compared to never-divorced grandmothers. Finally, the timing of divorce had a very limited effect on grandparental investments.