Pieter Vanhuysse: Intergenerational transfers by pro-elderly welfare states in a child-oriented Europe

Do societies tax their own reproduction?


Prof. Pieter Vanhuysse, University of Southern Denmark


Register for this event


What are the net inter-age group resource transfer burdens over the life course carried by working-age parents as compared to non-parents in Europe? Pieter Vanhuysse estimates all cash, in-kind, and time transfers of the market economy and the household economy, through both public and familial channels, for fourteen countries in the early 2000s. Non-parents in Europe contribute almost exclusively to public transfers, somewhat more than parents do. But parents provide, in addition, a still larger amount of familial transfers. Using these period age profiles, we next estimate transfer stocks over the working life. We find that, overall, parents contribute on average 1.8 times as many net transfers as non-parents. Especially in view of the public good nature of children and contemporary rates of both fertility and intentional childlessness in an aging Europe, this asymmetric transfer burden carries multiple implications for societal debates on population, social and family policies and on what societies owe parents. For instance, it raises the question whether, by exploiting the inelasticity of parental demand for children, European societies may be taxing their own reproduction. Read more


International seminar


European Centre