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Family and the Welfare State in Europe

Intergenerational Relations in Ageing Societies Agnes Blome, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) and Berlin Graduate School of Social Studies, Germany, Wolfgang Keck, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB), Germany and Jens Alber, formerly Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) and Free University of Berlin, Germany
This insightful book explores the role of both the family and the state in shaping the living conditions of the young and old in Europe. It provides a comparative theoretical and empirical analysis of age-related policies and welfare arrangements in Germany, France, Italy and Sweden.
Extent: 352 pp
Hardback Price: $160.00 Web: $144.00
Publication Date: 2009
ISBN: 978 1 84844 479 9
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  • Development Studies
  • Development Studies
  • Family and Gender Policy
  • Social Policy and Sociology
  • Ageing
  • Comparative Social Policy
  • Family and Gender Policy
  • Welfare States
This insightful book explores the role of both the family and the state in shaping the living conditions of the young and old in Europe. It provides a comparative theoretical and empirical analysis of age-related policies and welfare arrangements in Germany, France, Italy and Sweden.

By combining institutional data on changes in public policies with longitudinal micro-data on living arrangements and informal support patterns in families, the authors are able to demonstrate the huge diversity in the organization of intergenerational relations and the changes that have occurred since the early 1990s. Age-specific differences in attitudes towards current social policy issues are also explored. The key finding is that intergenerational bonds of solidarity remain robust, meaning predictions of a potential conflict between the generations are vastly exaggerated.

Providing up-to-date information on the perception of public policies and generational conflicts in different welfare states, this book is a must read for researchers in the field of comparative social policy and intergenerational relations. It will also benefit academics in sociology and political science, as well as policy-makers and consultants.
‘The book offers a genuine and innovative research direction that explores the “black box” of intergenerational relations and in particular how institutions mediate families ability to offer financial resources as well as provide care services to their members.’
– Antonis Roumpakis, Journal of Social Policy

‘. . . the book is an impressive effort, from which both students and academics will benefit, as this reader indeed has.’
– Svein Olav Daatland, Ageing and Society

‘Most European countries are experiencing a dramatic demographic shift. A combination of falling birthrates and rising life expectancy leads to a significant aging of societies. The authors analyze how the state and the family shape generational living conditions in Germany, France, Italy and Sweden and how age-specific attitudes toward welfare policy are affected. One finding is that there is little evidence of conflict between the generations. The book is a very important contribution to a better understanding of the character of new challenges for European welfare states.’
– Stein Kuhnle, The University of Bergen, Norway and the Hertie School of Governance, Germany
Contents: 1. Introduction 2. Intergenerational Solidarity between State and Family 3. Research Design 4. The Four Welfare Regimes Compared 5. Pension Systems and the Material Living Conditions of Older Persons 6. The Care of the Elderly 7. Transfer Payments for Families 8. Childcare between Family and State 9. Does a Generational Conflict Exist? Differences in Attitudes by Age Group 10. Old and Young in the Welfare State – Lessons from International Comparisons Bibliography Index