Bank of Grandma and Grandpa: Patterns of Financial Transfers from Grandparents to Grandchildren across Europe

Giulia Ferrari, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)
Julia Cattin, Università Bocconi
Frank Furstenberg, University of Pennsylvania

The so-called “intergenerational contract” is of major interest given the role of families complementing welfare systems and the population aging. Whereas past research investigated on various types of downward and upward intergenerational transfers, they disregarded the economic support provided by grandparents to their grandchildren. Our research aims at filling this gap using the second wave of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). Our sample is composed of 14,746 grandparents aged 50 to 111. To account for grandparents economically helping their grandchildren, our outcome includes not only those giving direct financial support, but also those providing indirect financial transfers to their children, themselves having dependent children, as well as those who co-reside with children and dependent grandchildren. Our main findings show that the probability to provide economic support is either affected by individual socio-economic characteristics or by cultural settings, while it is not influenced by perceived health.

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 Presented in Session P1. Marriage, Unions, Families, and Households