Intergenerational Resource Transfers as the Cement of Society: The Asymmetric Roles of Families and Policies

Pieter Vanhuysse, Robert Ivan Gal

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


European societies transfer more per capita resources to children than to the elderly, once we go beyond mere public transfer data and also take into account intra-household private transfers by families. Mostly, these are resources parents spend on buying goods and services for their children, and, especially, the value of the time spent caring, rearing, and producing various household public goods. The size of net transfers given in active age in both directions is much higher once the value of private transfers and time transfers is incorporated. When thinking about what societies do (or do not) do in terms of inter-age transfers, we need a different statistical system that incorporates these intra-familial relations, as public transfer data alone offer a highly incomplete picture of what contemporary societies accomplish in terms of intergenerational transfers. Why, indeed, do we observe so little social policy for young families?
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Handbook of Family Policy : A Life-Course Perspective
EditorsMary Daly, Birgit Birgit Pfau-Effinger, Neil Gilbert, Douglas Besharov
PublisherOxford University Press
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 10. Jan 2021


  • social policy
  • generations
  • resource transfers
  • human capital
  • age group reallocations

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