9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN01 Ageing in Europe

2009-09-03 09:00:00 2009-09-03 10:30:00 Thursday, 3 September 09:00 - 10:30 Intergenerational relationships: Transfers Building II, C5.06

Intergenerational solidarity and social cohesion: the limits of private financial transfers within family

In several European countries, ageing and the risk of conflict between generations create many concerns about social cohesion. The financing of pension regimes, based on repartition, is in the heart of the preoccupations. Societies are afraid that members of the new generations, less rich and less numerous than those of the previous generations, will refuse to pay for their predecessors and question the generational pact which has prevailed for more than half a century. Actually, many observers put this risk into perspective. They show that the public transfers to the elderly also favor the youngest generations, which benefit from generous private transfers within families. They demonstrate that in response to generous public transfers in their favor, older people informally proceed to a rebalancing, redistributing a part of their resources to their descendants. The aim of our presentation is to question this argument, by pointing out some of its limitations. Using the Luxembourgish household panel data about financial private transfers received by young households from their family, we will show that if private transfers can reduce intergenerational disparities, they contribute to increase inequality. For the most part, private transfers essentially benefit natives and the wealthiest categories. For a country like Luxembourg, where more than 40% of the population is from foreign country, this is an important fact. Indeed, we will show that immigrants, in particular those who come from Portugal (15% of the population) and those from countries outside EU15, are less susceptible to benefit from this kind of transfer, while their income, their level of schooling and their social and occupational status are weaker too. Our results, put in parallel with another European results, will lead us to identify certain limitations of the corporatist regimes in assuring social cohesion.