Age trajectories of social policy preferences. How demographic change influences intergenerational relations

Harald Wilkoszewski, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

The discourse on demographic change has gained momentum in many developed countries. Whereas in its beginning the discussion centred on the question of how to politically influence population ageing (e.g. by raising TFRs), political decision makers now seem to be concerned about its consequences on societal dynamics, especially intergenerational relations. This is particularly evident in Germany, where the latest pension rise provoked a discussion on a possible “gerontocracy”, in which the powerful elderly control public resources. In this paper we investigate, if such a scenario is plausible. We compare preferences of different age groups toward public transfers using latest survey-data (GGS). In contrast to existing studies, our linear models show a clear age effect: Older people are less likely to support a variety of transfers to families than younger respondents. General additive models further show that this effect is not always linear and follows different trajectories across the life course.

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Presented in Session 13: Population ageing and intergenerational relations