Families, Ageing and Social Policy

Families, Ageing and Social Policy

Intergenerational Solidarity in European Welfare States

Globalization and Welfare series

Edited by Chiara Saraceno

This important book offers valuable insights into the way in which social policies and welfare state arrangements interact with family and gender models. It presents the most up-to-date research in the field, based on a variety of national and comparative sources and using different theoretical and methodological approaches. The authors address different forms of support (care, financial, emotional) and employ a bi-directional perspective, exploring both giving and receiving across generations. They illustrate that understanding how generations interact in families helps to reformulate the way issues of intergenerational equity are discussed when addressing the redistributive impact of the welfare state through pensions and health services.

Chapter 3: The Intergenerational Transmission of Home Ownership and the Reproduction of the Familialistic Welfare Regime

Teresio Poggio

Subjects: development studies, family and gender policy, social policy and sociology, ageing, comparative social policy, family and gender policy, sociology and sociological theory, welfare states


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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