Économie et Statistique n° 403-404 - 2007Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe
Intergenerational transfer behaviour in Europe
Transfers between generations in the form of both time and money are very significant in all European countries. According to the data from the Share survey of people aged over 50, nearly three interviewees in ten are involved in financial transfers during the year and more than four in ten are involved in support in terms of time. Where money is concerned, the interviewees are seven times more likely to say that they have given money than received it, while there is barely any difference between the levels of time given and time received. The vast majority of financial transfers are given to children and, to a lesser extent, grandchildren, while the time assistance is mostly given by children. There are significant differences at European level, overall transfers being lower in southern countries. The financial aid given is above all linked to routine expenditure and family events. Whether received or given, the transfers are strongly linked to family structure, in terms of education and income. Financial assistance given to children depends greatly on the children's situations. Assistance is most frequently given to unemployed children and students, and it increases with family contact between parents and children. While it is true that parents come to their children's assistance when the need arises, the Share survey suggests that intergenerational exchange mechanisms exist.