Family and the Welfare State in Europe
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Family and the Welfare State in Europe

Intergenerational Relations in Ageing Societies

Agnes Blome, Wolfgang Keck and Jens Alber

This insightful book explores the role of both the family and the state in shaping the living conditions of the young and old in Europe. It provides a comparative theoretical and empirical analysis of age-related policies and welfare arrangements in Germany, France, Italy and Sweden.
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Chapter 7: Transfer Payments for Families

Agnes Blome, Wolfgang Keck and Jens Alber


The last decades have seen deep-seated changes in the forms families have taken, generating new challenges for welfare policy (Saraceno 1997; Harper 2006). A successful policy toward families and children must be cross-sectional and coordinate various policy areas – not just care-giving, education and tax policy (Dingeldey 2004), but also income, housing, labour market and health policy, as well as policies that are favourable to women or that promote gender equality. In this and the following chapter, we concentrate in a narrower sense on family policy that focuses on children. We also distinguish between transfer payments and services, though what appears to be a categorical distinction is not always clear (Kaufmann 1993a; Bahle 1995).1 Transfer payments for children can come in a form universally available to all or they can be granted under specific conditions, for example dependent on parents’ income or on the child’s age. What we examine is public measures designed to benefit children, and in particular the measures that provide: 1. 2. direct and indirect transfer payments for children or, rather, families; parental leave, meaning the statutory regulations enabling parents to take a paid leave of absence from their workplace for child-rearing reasons; childcare provided and/or financed directly by the state. 3. In so doing, we omit consideration of welfare benefits that accrue to families, such as counting child-rearing years in pension calculations (which we addressed in the previous chapter), the inclusion of family members in health insurance systems at no additional charge, or the special coverage...

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