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Grandchild care and welfare state arrangements in europe


Igel, C; Szydlik, Marc (2011). Grandchild care and welfare state arrangements in europe. Journal of European Social Policy, 21(3):210-224.

Abstract

As a consequence of increased life expectancies and the overall improved health status of elderly people in industrialized countries, grandparents and grandchildren are now sharing a longer period of their lives together, from which they can both actively benefit. In addition, grandparents help their children by looking after their grandchildren and are consequently an important service provider in the domain of childcare, especially for mothers active in the labour market. The analyses, which are based on the Survey of Health, Aging and Retirement in Europe (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland), show significant country differences in the occurrence and intensity of grandchild care in Europe: whereas grandparents in southern Europe engage less often but more intensively in childcare, grandchild care is provided more often but much less intensively in northern Europe. Multilevel logistic regression models show that country-specific differences are associated with welfare state arrangements and, specifically, with public investments in childcare infrastructures. Public investments ‘crowd in’ grandparental willingness to engage in childcare but ‘crowd out’ the intensity of this intergenerational time transfer. Family and state thus complement one another, with grandparents taking over sporadic, less time-intensive care while public institutions provide regular, time-consuming childcare services.

Abstract

As a consequence of increased life expectancies and the overall improved health status of elderly people in industrialized countries, grandparents and grandchildren are now sharing a longer period of their lives together, from which they can both actively benefit. In addition, grandparents help their children by looking after their grandchildren and are consequently an important service provider in the domain of childcare, especially for mothers active in the labour market. The analyses, which are based on the Survey of Health, Aging and Retirement in Europe (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland), show significant country differences in the occurrence and intensity of grandchild care in Europe: whereas grandparents in southern Europe engage less often but more intensively in childcare, grandchild care is provided more often but much less intensively in northern Europe. Multilevel logistic regression models show that country-specific differences are associated with welfare state arrangements and, specifically, with public investments in childcare infrastructures. Public investments ‘crowd in’ grandparental willingness to engage in childcare but ‘crowd out’ the intensity of this intergenerational time transfer. Family and state thus complement one another, with grandparents taking over sporadic, less time-intensive care while public institutions provide regular, time-consuming childcare services.

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27 citations in Web of Science®
34 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Sociology
Dewey Decimal Classification:300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
Language:English
Date:July 2011
Deposited On:03 Jan 2012 16:02
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:06
Publisher:Sage Publications
ISSN:0958-9287
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/0958928711401766
Related URLs:http://esp.sagepub.com/content/21/3.toc (Publisher)

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