Child education and parental healthcare utilization: The roles of knowledge transfer and financial support

This study investigates the effect of adult children’s education on parental healthcare utilization in China. We exploit an arguably exogenous change in children’s education, induced by the Compulsory Education Law CEL) reform around 1986. We find that adult children’s education reduces parents’ outpatient care utilization, but increases their inpatient care utilization, self-treatment use, and dental care. These effects can partly be explained by an increasing awareness of chronic diseases and of quality and price differentials of different treatments, possibly as a result of children’s knowledge transfer. Moreover, parents receive more monetary transfers from children and have more economic resources to afford more health services, as their children are better educated. As a result, children’s education improves elderly parents’ life expectancy.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.

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