Generational Relations in the Welfare State


The research project wants to link variations of the welfare state with the living conditions, relation patterns and attitudes of different generations. Therefore, four countries (Germany, France, Italy and Sweden) have been selected which represent different welfare state arrangements.

Aging societies and changing family constellations are common trends of current welfare states. These processes question the welfare state arrangements. On the one hand an increasing potential for conflicts between generations due to unequal distribution of welfare state contributions and benefits among different generations is specified. On the other hand there is the regulative function of generational relations in the family. Generally, family relations are characterised by strong relatedness and solidarity. The interaction between generational relationships within the welfare state and generational relations within the family plays a key role in regulating distributional conflicts.

Research Questions:
On the basis of macro- and micro data kind and extent of support and benefits between generations both within the welfare state and within the family will be specified. The German welfare state then will  be compared with similar and less similar welfare state arrangements. Four research questions will be analysed:

  1. Do distribution patterns of the welfare state and the family system complement or replace each other?
  2. What are the differences in attitudes between generations in the different welfare states and how can they be explained?
  3. Have attitudes between generations changed under the impact of social reforms since the mid-1990s?
  4. To what extent are social groups such as women or persons with limited support from their families especially affected by these changes and differences?
Main content

Selected Publications

Blome, Agnes/Keck, Wolfgang/Alber, Jens (2008): Generationenbeziehungen im Wohlfahrtsstaat. Lebensbedingungen und Einstellungen von Altersgruppen im internationalen Vergleich. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, 419 S.