Generational Interdependencies: The Social Implications for Welfare

Beverley A. Searle (Ed.)

by Beverley A. Searle, Rory Coulter (University of Cambridge), Gabriel Amitsis (Technology University of Athens, Greece), Sally Bould (University of Delaware), Guiliana Costa (Politecnico di Milano , Italy), Roxana Eleta De Filippis (University of Le Havre, France ), Tom Emery , Lars Gulbrandsen (Velferdsforskningsinstituttet NOVA, Norway), Hans Sandlie (Velferdsforskningsinstituttet NOVA, Norway ), Andrea Schäfer (University of Bremen, Germany), Gunther Schmaus , Adriana Soaita , Marco Tosi (Politecnico di Milano, Italy), Peter Williams (Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association, UK), Caroline DeWilde (Tilburg University, The Netherlands), Christa Hubers (Tilburg University, The Netherlands)

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“Generational interdependencies” is an interesting and original book that adopts a novel approach to the study of intergenerational relations. The topic of intergenerational exchange of support and its relation to public welfare provision has received considerable attention in the last decades. Nevertheless, Beverly Searle has been able to edit an original volume that not only takes into consideration both the micro and macro level aspects of this topic but also nicely combine the approach of sociological studies with those of economics, geography, social policy and gender studies. Furthermore, the book significantly contributes to this field of study by focusing on the intersection between the analyses of the intergenerational transmission of inequality and housing studies. The attention that the authors have paid to the role of home and homeownership in the transmission of wealth from one generation to the other - and in securing individual’s welfare on the basis of families’ accumulation instead of public provision - has produced a number of findings that will have a considerable impact on how we look at the connection between intergenerational relations, inequality transmission and the future sustainability of the European welfare systems.

Marco Albertini,
Dipartimento di Scienze Politiche e Sociali
Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna, Italy

The issue of generational transfers is growing in importance. Populations are ageing, placing an increasing burden on provision of pensions, health care and other welfare services. In many nations the imbalance between a growing, older generation, supported by a shrinking younger generation, has fuelled debates about intergenerational justice. The key argument being that political and institutional developments over the last century have been to the advantage of older generations at the expense of current younger and future generations. But this only addresses half of the story, neglecting the flows of resources, through private, family channels. One key response to the growing fiscal problem of ageing societies has been to focus responsibility on self-funding and familial support. The growth of asset values, particularly housing, which are concentrated among the elderly, underpin such strategies. But this exposes new risks as potentially extractable resources are determined by wider fluctuations in the economy, and housing markets in particular. Clearly, these cohort effects, and responses to them, play out differently in different national developmental settings, depending on long-run patterns of economic, social and demographic change. This collection address these issues and provides original insights across different international contexts. The collection focusses on financial and non-financial transfers, generational interdependencies, and the role of labour and housing markets in welfare support, set against the changing economic landscape following the Great Financial Crisis of 2007. Although institutional and national differences exist the key emerging issues are the same: the financial and welfare challenges of supporting aging in societies; inequalities in the availability of assets across individuals, families and nations; and the extent to which private asset accumulation can support families over the life course. Drawing from examples across European countries, this collection will nonetheless be relevant to researchers and policy makers in other nations addressing the complexities of providing welfare across the life course in the face of restricted financial resources.

Beverley A Searle

Chapter 1: Generational interdependencies and Welfare
Beverley A Searle (and Integrate Team)

Chapter 2: Support from Parents during young adults’ transition to adulthood
Tom Emery

Chapter 3: Determinants of Young People’s Homeownership Transitions Before and After the Financial Crisis: The UK in a European Context
Caroline DeWilde, Christa Hubers and Rory Coulter

Chapter 4: Homeownership-based welfare? Wealth options of owner-occupiers and tenants in Great Britain
Adriana M Soaita and Beverley A Searle

Chapter 5: Homeownership and family transitions within a Nordic welfare state
Hans C Sandlie and Lars Gulbrandsen

Chapter 6: Financial Transfers, co-residence and childcare between adult children and parents: A life course approach from SHARE: Sweden, Denmark, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.
Sally Bould, Gunther Schmaus and Roxana Eleta-de Filippis

Chapter 7: Older home owners and generational transfers
Peter Williams

Chapter 8: State Pensions, poverty and social inclusion during austerity time – the paradigm of Greece
Gabriel Amitsis

Gabriel Amitsis is an international lawyer and academic, Associate Professor of Social Security Law in the Department of Business Administration (sector: Health and Welfare Services) at the Athens Technology University. He received his PhD in Social Security Law from Athens University in 1997 on EU and comparative employment, social security and inclusion policies. He practices law in cases related to the protection of human and social rights. He serves as senior social policy consultant on behalf of national administrations and International Organizations, and is a key expert in EU and national projects on public governance, social welfare and migration. He was commissioned by the Greek government as the senior policy expert for “The Green Paper on the National Social Inclusion Strategy” (2013-2014) and the Coordinator of the National Social Inclusion Strategy (adopted by the European Commission in January 2015) and the National Action Plan to combat homelessness (2014-2016). His main research interests focus on the regulation of social security, anti-poverty, employment, social entrepreneurship and migration policies. He is interested in the guarantee of social rights and the application of the rule of law during the design of structural reform agendas. His research has addressed the impact of international and EU law on national social security regimes; the institutional framework of pensions; and the challenges facing persons unable to address their needs through public safety nets. He is author and co-author of twenty books and has published widely in international edited books and journals. His best-selling monograph “The commitment to active inclusion of vulnerable groups – Lessons from Social Europe” was published in 2014 (in Greek) with a foreword from Laszlo Andor, former EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion.

Sally Bould Sally Bould is Professor Emerita of Sociology at the University of Delaware, Newark DE, USA and Fellow, Gerontology Institute of the University of Massachusetts, Boston, MA, USA. She received a Fulbright Fellowship (Luxembourg) in 2006 and was Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Population, Poverty and Public Policy Studies (CEPS), Luxembourg 2006-2012. At CEPS she began her collaboration with Gunther Schmaus on the SHARE data. In 2013-2014 she received a EURAIS (The European Institutes for Advanced Study) fellowship at the Flemish Academic Centre for Science and the Arts, Brussels, Belgium to further the study of SHARE data on women and pensions. She has published in the areas of older women’s employment in Europe, older women and health and the oldest old (Bould et al. Eighty- five Plus, 1989) as well as a memorial article on the work of Tamara Hareven in The History of the Family (11)

Rory Coulter is a postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Cambridge. He received his PhD in human geography from the University of St Andrews in 2013. His research uses life course perspectives and longitudinal methods to examine housing careers, residential mobility preferences and behaviour and the neighbourhood transitions people make when they change residence. He is particularly interested in social and spatial inequalities in housing experiences and residential mobility. Rory currently holds an Economic and Social Research Council Future Research Leaders award to use a range of longitudinal secondary data resources to examine how family background and family trajectories influence housing circumstances during young adulthood.

Caroline Dewilde is Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology, Tilburg University (the Netherlands). Her main research interests concern the dynamics of inequality and poverty at different levels of analysis, from the individual life course to the welfare state, from a cross-national perspective. She has published in a range of (inter)national journals and books across the social sciences. In 2011, Caroline received a European research Council (ERC) Starting Grant for the HOWCOME project ( The project analyses changes in economic and social inequalities and housing regimes and the interplay between these, in particular the increase in owner-occupation, during the postwar period.

Roxana Eleta-De Filippis is Professor of Sociology (Maitresse des conférences) at the University of Le Havre, France, where she began her career in 2002. She received her doctorate from the University of Paris, in 1999 as well as a Masters degree in the Sociology of Law from University of Paris in 2009. Her research relates to the issues of legal rights of persons who are in vulerable categories, such as the very old, the poor, and/or the disabled. This includes the right to housing as well as the obligations of adult children to provide basic support for elderly parents in need.

Tom Emery is a Post-Doctoral Researcher in Intergenerational Relations at the Erasmus University Rotterdam and the Programme Manager of the Generations and Gender Survey based at the Netherlands Interdisiciplinary Demographic Institute. He received his PhD in Social Policy from the University of Edinburgh in 2014. His interests lie in the field of intergenerational relations and family dynamics in a comparative perspective. He is also a specialist in comparative survey methodologies and keen advocate of data infrastructures for the social sciences. He has published work in journals such as ‘European Societies’, ‘Demographic Research’, ‘Advances in Lifecourse Research’, ‘Community, Work & Family’ and ‘The Journal of Population Ageing’.

Lars Gulbrandsen, born in 1946, is researcher at NOVA – Norwegian Social Research. He wrote his PhD-thesis on the development of housing policy and housing market in Oslo (1982). For many years, he has conducted research on family transfers and intergenerational relations. His last publication (together with Hans Christian Sandlie) was “Housing Market and Family Relations in a Welfare State” published in Critical Housing Analysis, 2015. He has been member of the Coordination Committee of European Network for Housing Research and member of the board of European Society of Family Relations.

Christa Huber obtained her MSc in Sociology from Tilburg University and her PhD in Human Geography and Planning from Utrecht University (both in The Netherlands). As a Post-Doctoral Researcher at Tilburg University she examined the intergenerational transmission of homeownership. Previously she has held research positions at the Centre for Transport and Society at the University of the West of England, Bristol, UK, and OTB Research for the Built Environment at TUDelft, the Netherlands. Her research interests range from changing activity patterns related to technological developments, transit-oriented development (TOD) and first-time entry into homeownership. She has published in various international journals and in 2011 received the Michael Breheny Prize for the best paper published in Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design.
Hans Christian Sandlie is a Sociologist (PhD) and a researcher at Norwegian Social Research (NOVA). He is currently appointed Coordinator for NOVAs group of Housing Research. Research interests include housing, life course dynamics, transition from youth to adulthood, migration, family transfers and social inequality. Now he is working in the project “Social inequality and housing over the life course: good choices or lucky outcomes?” His last publication in English (together with Lars Gulbrandsen) was “Housing Market and Family Relations in a Welfare State” published in Critical Housing Analysis 2015.
Andrea Schäfer is researcher at the Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy (SOCIUM) at the University of Bremen. She was previously researcher at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin). She has been working and publishing on gender, work and social inequality since the 2000s, including comparative empirical studies on the development of female labour market integration and segregation (Schäfer et al. 2012), gender differences in earnings, income and wealth (Schäfer and Kraus 2005; Schäfer and Gottschall 2015, Schäfer and Gottschall 2016), development of gender and age related poverty and living conditions (Schäfer et al. 2015), and gendering of transnational private transfers (Holst et al. 2012). On the international level she participates in a Network on Globalisation, Gender, and Work Transformation (GLOW) and the EU project Inclusive Growth Research Infrastructure Diffusion (InGRID) within the 7th Framework Program.

Gunther Schmaus is a statistician, retired from the Centre d'Etudes de Populations, de Pauvrete et de Politiques Socio-Economiques / Belval, Luxembourg. He was Director of the Consortium of Household Panels for European Socio-economic Research (CHER) and the Panel Comparability (PACO); projects funded by the EU. PACO and CHER are comparative longitudinal micro data databases of households and individuals from existing panel data, covering demography, health, education and training, employment and activity, income and expenditure, housing and household durables, subjective information and social relations. His research has focused on cross-national comparisons, social policy, longitudinal analyses and panel methods.

Beverley Searle is Senior Lecturer and Head of Geography and Environmental Science at the University of Dundee. She received her PhD in Social Policy from the University of York in 2005. She is the founder of INTEGRATE: International Network of Generational Transfers Research established in 2012. Her research interests focus on long-term trends in subjective wellbeing and social welfare, in particular inter-disciplinary exploration of the role of assets (financial, physical, human and natural) in securing wellbeing and welfare across the life-course. Her interests are underpinned by concerns of intergenerational inequalities, and developing an interdisciplinary approach to understand the inter-dependencies, barriers to, and potential for developing individual sustainable wellbeing and social resilience. Her research has addressed the challenges facing households set within the context of fluctuations in the housing market and wider economy; micro concerns of the social and economic consequences of recession on household relationships and budget management; inequalities in an ageing society and the role and relationship of private transfers of wealth and the implications for individual wellbeing. She has published widely on these issues including her book on Well-being and an edited collection (with Professor Susan Smith) on the Housing Wealth of Nations.

Dr Adriana Soaita is a chartered Romanian architect and planner with a prolific portfolio of residential and commercial projects undertaken over two decades. Her postgraduate academic inquiry has been inspired by the encounters with the people she was designing for, whose narratives aroused her fascination with the multiplicity of meanings attached to housing. This lead her to undertaking a PhD in housing studies at King’s College London (awarded in 2011) and a period of post-doctoral research at the University of St Andrews, UK before coming to Tilburg University, NL. Adriana has delivered theoretically rigorous and innovative research in the intersecting fields of urban and housing studies, human geography and post-communist studies. Her research focuses on some of the multiple ways in which housing and home are permeated by, and shape our ideas of, politics and power, space and place, emotions and embodiment. A key theme crosscutting her research has been the nexus between housing and socioeconomic and spatial inequalities.

Dr Peter Williams is Executive Director of the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association and a Departmental Fellow, Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge. He was previously Director of the Cambridge Centre for Housing and Planning Research, Deputy Director General of the Council of Mortgage Lenders and Professor of Housing at the University of Wales, Cardiff. He is currently on the board of The National Housing Federation, Chair of URL, a planned ‘for profit’ housing association and a board member of Belmont Green, a new mortgage lender.

asset-based welfare; property-based welfare; intergenerational justice; intergenerational transfers; wealth transfers; inter-vivo transfers; life-course; welfare; older people; younger people; comparative qualitative; quantitative

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Bibliographic Information

Book Title

Generational Interdependencies: The Social Implications for Welfare





Number of pages


Physical size



8 B&W

Publication date

January 2018