Transfers Between Generations in Western and Eastern Europe
MEA University of Mannheim Mannheim, Germany
Institute of Sociology University of Zurich Zurich, Switzerland
Progressive population ageing all over Europe leads to an increasing political and sociological interest in families and especially intergenerational relations. Comparative research plays a major role for understanding the interdependencies between culture, state and family. It may thus help to solve societal problems emerging from a changing balance between old and young.
Our presentation will focus on the influences of welfare state characteristics on the exchange of money and time between adult generations in Europe. Previous research has already confirmed the existence of several Western "European societies" regarding intergenerational relations. Northern Europe is characterised by a high level of sporadic support while in Southern Europe assistance is rare, but very intense, whereas Central Europe lies - not only geographically - in between those two poles. The second wave of SHARE now also includes two Eastern European states (Czech Republic, Poland) aside from eleven Western European countries (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland) and thus provides further insight into the role of public support for private transfers in the family all over Europe.
As a consequence of the hierarchical structure of the data, multilevel models will be employed to trace intergenerational support patterns back to characteristics of relations, persons, families and states, from north to south and west to east. These analyses show, that the welfare state has considerable influences on private intergenerational transfers, even if different individual resources, needs and family characteristics are considered: The more public support for families and people in need, the more likely money and time are transferred between elderly parents and adult children. Thus, even if two former socialist regimes are taken into account, the so called "crowding in" - thesis is supported analysing the likelihood of intergenerational transfers.