Pro-Elderly Welfare States within Child-Oriented Societies

Robert Gal, Pieter Vanhuysse, Lili Vargha

Research output: Working paperResearchpeer-review


Households and policies are the main vehicles of intergenerational transfers. Working-age people are net contributors; children and older persons net beneficiaries. However, there is an asymmetry in socialization. Working-age people pay taxes and social security contributions to institutionalize care for older persons as a generation, but invest private resources to raise their own children, often with large social returns. This results in asymmetric statistical visibility. Elderly transfers are near-fully observed in National Accounts; those to children much less. Analysing ten European societies, we employ National Transfer Accounts to include public and private transfers and National Time Transfer Accounts to value unpaid household labour. All three channels combined, children receive more per capita resources (73 percent of prime-age labour income) than older persons (31 percent). Europe is a continent of pro-elderly welfare states and strongly child-oriented parents. Since children are public goods, why has investment in them not been socialized more?
Original languageEnglish
PublisherNational Transfer Accounts
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • household economy, human capital, intergenerational policies, parental investment, National Transfer Accounts, National Time Transfer Accounts


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