The Impact of Nuclear Family and Individual Migration on the Elderly in Rural Bangladesh: A Qualitative Analysis
RAND CORP SANTA MONICA CA
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This paper addresses selectivity, substitution and complementarity of elderly support options in Bangladesh, a nation undergoing simultaneous mobility and aging transitions in an environment of limited economic change. Employing detailed qualitative analysis and descriptive quantitative results, the work suggests that while households execute conscious strategies of fertility control and human capital in response to socio-economic change, they must also manage the associated risk through more extensive use of existing social resources for personal support and care. In detailing this process, the paper introduces two interlocking hierarchies of financial and personal support. In these hierarchies, parents exercise two predominant preferences, favoring sons over other children and favoring linkage of sources of primary financial and personal support. When strategies fail or preferred children emphasize financial support over personal care, parents mobilize personal and financial support from sources at lower levels of the hierarchy. While the research finds that Support mechanisms are highly adaptable to demographic transition and economic crisis, mechanisms in the current era still depend on higher fertility, lower longevity, and lower mobility than can be anticipated in the next generation. They also may generate unintended economic consequences such as inequality and disinvestment. The results support an agenda to better understand the fuzzy logic of family formation under a regime of informality, transition, and constraint.
- Sociology and Law