Familial support, social security and the changing economic status of the elderly in Taiwan, 1976-1996
This thesis deals with the economic status of the elderly in Taiwan, with specific reference to familial support and social security. The aims of this thesis are threefold. First, we shall provide a broad analysis of the economic status of the elderly in Taiwan during the period 1976-1996 using three economic indicators (income, assets and consumer durables). Second, we shall examine the impact of familial support (in terms of intra-household transfers and inter-household transfers) on the elderly's economic status. Third, we assess the effectiveness and efficiency of four major types of social security on the reduction of poverty rates and poverty gaps. These aims are achieved by using the dataset from the Survey of Family Income and Expenditure in Taiwan. The research findings demonstrate that economic well-being of elderly individuals is unequally distributed across different living arrangements. It supports the view that familial transfers were still substantial up to 1996 but were steadily decreasing over time. For some households, although social security has proved to be very effective in reducing overall poverty, there was a low efficiency associated with social security distribution. The study addresses the importance of family support of the elderly, and the fairness and efficiency of social security provision. Moreover, the research suggests that the proposed National Pension Scheme would be an ideal tool for improving the economic status of the elderly in the long term.