Intergenerational old-age support within families is an important norm in developing countries, which typically lack comprehensive pension coverage. The transmission mechanism for this norm is potentially influenced by socioeconomic factors internal and external to the family, which the norm may in turn influence. This paper studies the inter-generational transmission of this social norm in China, focusing on the role of gender. The mechanism behind this transmission is that parents, by their provision of support to their own parents, shape their same-gender children's preference for old-age support. Given that the gender ratio of Chinese children is not random, I use an interaction term of the timing of the ban on sex-selective abortions in China and the gender of the first-born child as the instrumental variable for the gender of the children to alleviate the possible endogeneity. The empirical results, using two Chinese datasets, show that parents with more same-gender children provide more support to their ageing parents than parents with cross-gender ones. The father effect is more significant in rural subsamples, and the mother effect is seen mainly in the urban ones. The urban-rural difference in the results may indicate a normative shift accompanying economic and demographic changes.
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