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Is the United States Experiencing a "Matrilineal Tilt?": Gender, Family Structures and Financial Transfers to Adult Children

From: Social Forces
Volume 88, Number 4, June 2010
pp. 1753-1776 | 10.1353/sof.2010.0007

Abstract

Abstract:

Furstenberg et al. (1995) suggested that one unanticipated consequence of current high levels of divorce might be a "matrilineal tilt" in intergenerational wealth flows. This research uses six waves of the Health and Retirement Survey (1992 to 2002) to investigate this possibility with respect to financial transfers from parents to their adult children. We find that although divorced single fathers continue to make transfers to their adult biological children, remarriage substantially reduces fathers' transfers while it increases mothers' transfers to their biological children. Our findings are consistent with both socio-evolutionary and exchange theories predicting women's vs. men's investments in biological vs. stepchildren.