The impact of children on the subjective well-being of elderly parents: Evidence from Japan
In many developed countries, population aging has been advancing, and there are increasing researches that examine the determinants of older people's subjective well-being (SWB). This study focuses on the impact of children on the SWB of elderly parents. Results from the previous study are not conclusive and show that the impact of children may be positive or have no effect. Furthermore, most researchers use data from Europe, and the analysis using the data from other regions is scarce. This study examines the impact of children on the SWB of elderly parents over 60 using the Japan Household Panel Survey (JHPS/KHPS). The empirical analysis using OLS, propensity score matching, inverse-probability-weighted regression adjustment, and entropy balancing reveal three findings. First, older married men and older married women who have children have lower life satisfaction and lower household income satisfaction. In addition, household savings and household debt are lower for older married men and older married women who have children. These results suggest that the financial burden of having children is large in Japan, and the impact is one of the causes of lowering life satisfaction. Second, the statistically significant adverse impacts of having children persist even in the case of both married and unmarried samples. However, compared with the case of only the married samples, the magnitude of negative impact decreases, particularly for women. Third, in the case of unmarried samples, the negative impact of having children disappear, and the household income satisfaction of unmarried men and women who have children increases. This result indicates that when older parents do not have a spouse, the child may provide living and financial support to enhance the parent's SWB.