A comparative perspective on intergenerational support: Responsiveness to parental needs in individual and familialistic countries.

It has often been argued that Southern European countries are more familialistic in their culture than Western and Northern European countries. In this paper, I examine this notion by testing the hypothesis that adult children are more responsive to the needs oftheir elderly parents in Southern Europe than in Western and Northern Europe. To test this hypothesis, I analyze the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), which is a survey that was held in 10 European countries among people aged 50 and over. I focus on three indicators of need: (a) the partner status of the parent(widowed and divorced versus married), (b) the health status of the parent, and (c) the age of the parent. I examine two forms of support: (a) whether the child was living with the respondent, (b) whether an outside child provided practical or other types of help tothe parent. I estimate effects of support need on these types of support and I compare these effects across countries, using additional information on country-level values from the European Values Studies.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.

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