Economic Wellbeing and Flows of Intergenerational Support in Eastern Europe

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 13:15
Oral Presentation
Paul-Teodor HARAGUS, Babes-Bolyai University, Romania
Mihaela HARAGUS, Babes-Bolyai University, Romania
Family solidarity has different motivations and manifestations in different social strata, and the socioeconomic status influence the intensity of intergenerational solidarity. From the reciprocity and altruism approaches we know that working class families are more involved in intergenerational exchanges than the upper class families. We can approach downward intergenerational solidarity from the perspective of status reproduction: parents invest in their children through intergenerational transfers in order to avoid their downward social mobility. Consequently, working class parents offer less financial support to their adult children, compared with upper class parents. All approaches (altruism, reciprocity or status reproduction) argue a more intense transfer for instrumental support in families with lower socioeconomic status.

Our intention was to investigate how social mobility is supported through intergenerational relations. For this we used data from Generations and Gender Programme (GGP) Wave1, for several Eastern European countries, focusing on three forms of support provided to family members: financial, emotional and instrumental. We used a synthetic index of material wellbeing, combining income and expenditure approach: total household income, two indicators of the ability of household to make its ends meet, the evaluation of the household ability to overcome financial difficulties and the satisfaction with the housing.

Results show that intergenerational solidarity seems to function distinctly in different social strata. We showed that in higher status families there is more financial support to an adult child. In some countries higher status families are less likely to offer instrumental support to their descendants. This confirms the idea that persons with a high socioeconomic status offer less downward intergenerational instrumental support. Regarding upward intergenerational transfers, we showed that higher status families provide more financial and emotional support to their parents and less instrumental support.