9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN26 Sociology of Social Policy

2009-09-03 09:00:00 2009-09-03 10:30:00 Thursday, 3 September 09:00 - 10:30 Restructuring European Social Policies Building II, Auditório C1.04

Welfare states and quality of later life - distributions and predictions of QoL in a comparative perspective

Demographic transitions are a driver of social change and societal ageing influences the resources and chances in life of different age groups. As a contribution to the debate on (potential) results of the transformation of social security in ageing societies, the impact of social security systems on distributions of quality of life in later life is discussed.
Three basic hypotheses are examined and thoroughly tested: the hypothesis of (relative) levels, the distribution hypothesis and the social structure hypothesis. The empirical investigation includes the following questions: How do levels of quality of life in later life depend on welfare state arrangements? Is the variability of objective and subjective quality of life related to welfare state arrangements? What is the relevance of social structure indicators for this variability and how is it related to old age security systems? What can be learned for the perspectives of current debates on equity and social security reforms?
The analyses apply data from 12 countries. While most of them are included in the first wave of the international comparative research project SHARE, data for England come from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA).
Descriptive analyses as well as multivariate models prove an interconnection between welfare state systems and quality of life indicators but not all three hypotheses can be fully confirmed. The analyses confirm the "level hypothesis" for three out of four indicators applied. Analyses only partly back the "distribution hypothesis" as well as the hypothesis of social structure effect can also only be partly confirmed. Finally, a basis for extended future analyses is outlined.