Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Schools, schooling and children's support of their ageing parents in rural Nepal


Intergenerational transfers play an important role in individuals' lives across the lifecourse. This paper reviews theories on intergenerational transfers and social change to inform our understanding of how changes in the educational context that arise from the spread of mass education influence children's support of their parents. By examining multiple aspects of the educational context in rural Nepal, including husbands' and wives' education and exposure to schools, this paper provides new information on the mechanisms through which changes in social context influence children's support of their parents. Multilevel logistic regression was used to estimate the relationship between schooling, exposure to schools, and the likelihood of couples giving to their parents. It was found that schooling and exposure to schools have independent and opposite effects on the support of older parents. Higher levels of schooling for husbands were associated with a higher likelihood of having given support to husbands' parents. On the other hand, increased exposure to schools for husbands and wives was associated with a lower likelihood of having given to wives' parents. The findings provide evidence that multiple motivations for intergenerational support exist simultaneously and are related to social context through different mechanisms.

Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Sarah R. Brauner-Otto, Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, CB# 8120, University Square, 123 West Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27516-2524, USA. E-mail:
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

G. Angeles , D. K. Guilkey and T. A. Mroz 1998. Purposive program placement and the estimation of family planning program effects in Tanzania. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 93, 443, 884–99.

W. G. Axinn 1993. The effects of children's schooling on fertility limitation. Population Studies, 47, 3, 481–93.

W. G. Axinn and J. S. Barber 2001. Mass education and fertility transition. American Sociological Review, 66, 4, 481505.

W. G. Axinn , J. S. Barber and D. J. Ghimire 1997. The neighborhood history calendar: a data collection method designed for dynamic multilevel modeling. Sociological Methodology, 27, 355–92.

W. G. Axinn , L. D. Pearce and D. J. Ghimire 1999. Innovations in life history calendar applications. Social Science Research, 28, 3, 243–64.

W. G. Axinn and S. T. Yabiku 2001. Social change, the social organization of families, and fertility limitation. American Journal of Sociology, 106, 5, 1219–61.

G. Becker , Y. Beyene , E. Newsom and N. Mayen 2003. Creating continuity through mutual assistance: intergenerational reciprocity in four ethnic groups. Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 58, 3, S151–9.

A. M. Beutel and W. G. Axinn 2002. Gender, social change, and educational attainment. Economic Development and Cultural Change, 51, 1, 109–34.

H.-P. Blossfeld and J. Huinink 1991. Human capital investments or norms of role transition? How women's schooling and career affect the process of family formation. American Journal of Sociology, 97, 1, 143–68.

J. Bongaarts and S. C. Watkins 1996. Social interactions and contemporary fertility transitions. Population and Development Review, 22, 4, 639–82.

S. R. Brauner-Otto , W. G. Axinn and D. J. Ghimire 2007. The spread of health services and fertility transition. Demography, 44, 4, 747–70.

B. Edmonston 2006. Population dynamics in Germany: the role of immigration and population momentum. Population Research and Policy Review, 25, 5–6, 513–45.

E. Frankenberg , L. Lillard and R. J. Willis 2002. Patterns of intergenerational transfers in Southeast Asia. Journal of Marriage and Family, 64, 3, 627–41.

P. J. Gertler and J. W. Molyneaux 1994. How economic development and family-planning programs combined to reduce Indonesian fertility. Demography, 31, 1, 3363.

D. J. Ghimire , W. G. Axinn , S. T. Yabiku and A. Thornton 2006. Social change, premarital non-family experiences and spouse choice in an arranged marriage society. American Journal of Sociology, 111, 4, 1181–218.

F. K. Goldscheider , A. Thornton and L.-S. Yang 2001. Helping out the kids: expectations about parental support in young adulthood. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 63, 3, 727–40.

E. Grundy and J. C. Henretta 2006. Between elderly parents and adult children: a new look at the intergenerational care provided by the ‘sandwich generation’. Ageing & Society, 26, 5, 707–22.

S. B. Hamill 1994. Parent-adolescent communication in sandwich generation families. Journal of Adolescent Research, 9, 4, 458–82.

D. J. Hernandez 1981. A note on measuring the independent impact of family planning programs on fertility declines. Demography, 18, 4, 627–34.

D. P. Hogan , D. J. Eggebeen and C. C. Clogg 1993. The structure of intergenerational exchanges in American families. American Journal of Sociology, 98, 6, 1428–58.

O. Kravdal 2002. Education and fertility in Sub-Saharan Africa: individual and community effects. Demography, 39, 2, 233–50.

Y.-J. Lee , W. T. Parish and R. J. Willis 1994. Sons, daughters, and intergenerational support in Taiwan. American Journal of Sociology, 99, 4, 1010–41.

L. S. Loomis and A. Booth 1995. Multigenerational caregiving and well-being: the myth of the beleaguered sandwich generation. Journal of Family Issues, 16, 2, 131–48.

K. McNay , P. Arokiasamy and R. H. Cassen 2003. Why are uneducated women in India using contraception? A multilevel analysis. Population Studies, 57, 1, 2140.

G. H. Mead 1967. Mind, Self and Society: From the Standpoint of a Social Behaviorist. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois.

A. M. Pienta , J. S. Barber and W. G. Axinn 2001. Social change and adult children's attitudes toward support of elderly parents: evidence from Nepal. Hallym International Journal of Aging, 3, 2, 211–35.

S. H. Preston , C. Himes and M. Eggers 1989. Demographic conditions responsible for population aging. Demography, 26, 4, 691704.

M. Silverstein , T. M. Parrott and V. L. Bengtson 1995. Factors that predispose middle-aged sons and daughters to provide social support to older parents. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 57, 2, 465–75.

A. Thornton , W. G. Axinn and J. D. Teachman 1995. The influence of school enrollment and accumulation on cohabitation and marriage in early adulthood. American Sociological Review, 60, 5, 762–74.

A. Thornton and T. E. Fricke 1987. Social change and the family: comparative perspectives from the West, China and South Asia. Sociological Forum, 2, 4, 746–79.

T. W. Valente , S. C. Watkins and M. N. Jato 1997. Social network associations with contraceptive use among Cameroonian women in voluntary associations. Social Science and Medicine, 45, 5, 677–87.

R. J. Willis 1973. A new approach to the economic theory of fertility behavior. Journal of Political Economy, 81, 2, S1464.

S. T. Yabiku 2005. The effect of non-family experiences on age of marriage in a setting of rapid social change. Population Studies, 59, 3, 339–54.

S. T. Yabiku 2004. Marriage timing in Nepal: organizational effects and individual mechanisms. Social Forces, 83, 2, 559–86.

S. T. Yabiku 2006. Neighbors and neighborhoods: effects on marriage timing. Population Research and Policy Review, 25, 4, 305–27.

H. Yang 1996. The distributive norm of monetary support to older parents: a look at a township in China. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 58, 2, 404–15.

R. B. Zajonc 1968. The attitudinal effects of mere exposure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 9, monograph supplement 2, 127.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Ageing & Society
  • ISSN: 0144-686X
  • EISSN: 1469-1779
  • URL: /core/journals/ageing-and-society
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 11
Total number of PDF views: 30 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 173 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 28th May 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.