Regional economic performance, rurality and distance between parents and their employed children. A multilevel analysis

Thijs van den Broek, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Pearl Dykstra, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Niels Schenk, Erasmus University Rotterdam

In this study we assess the associations between regional economic performance, rurality and the geographic distance between parents in Germany and their employed children. Previous studies on parent-child distance have typically included regional rurality in their analyses under the assumption that, vis-à-vis urban regions, rural regions have a poor economic performance. Drawing on the work of Sassen, we problematize this assumption and carry out a direct test of the association between regional economic performance and the distance between parents and employed children. Analyses based on micro data from the German Ageing Survey enriched with INKAR district level indicators (N = 5.577) indicate that economic performance of a parent's living district is negatively associated with parent-employed child distance. The negative association between economic performance of a parent's living district and parent-child distance does not vary by the skill level of the child’s job, unlike what the polarization thesis and the professionalization thesis led us to expect. Possible implications of the findings for intergenerational solidarity, most notably the availability of informal care for dependent older parents, are discussed.

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Presented in Session 52: Care and support in later life