Intergenerational Solidarity in European Welfare States
Globalization and Welfare series
Edited by Chiara Saraceno
Chapter 3: The Intergenerational Transmission of Home Ownership and the Reproduction of the Familialistic Welfare Regime
Teresio Poggio INTRODUCTION The role of the family in supporting entry into home ownership is widely acknowledged in the housing research literature (for a recent review, see Helderman and Mulder 2007): the older generation within a family tends to transmit to the younger generation the resources useful to become home owners as well as preferences for this type of tenure. This seems especially true in those countries where there is a lack of aﬀordable alternatives in the rental sector and where, in general, social norms require individuals to support their descendants’ well-being. The intergenerational transmission of home ownership is a typical way in which material capital is transmitted to descendants. When based on selfbuilding, it is also a process whereby diﬀerent forms of capital in the family, notably social and technical capital (Bourdieu and de Saint Martin 1990), can be converted into housing wealth. Both the capacity to transmit material capital and the ability to convert other forms of capital into the latter form vary among social strata. From this point of view, the intergenerational transmission of home ownership is a signiﬁcant factor in the reproduction of social inequality. This transmission is also an important topic for comparative research on welfare systems and on intergenerational relationships. It constitutes a core element within the overall system of private transfers from ascendants to the new generation. In countries where welfare state transfers are primarily targeted at the elderly, this private circuit of transmission partially compensates for the welfare system’s...
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