Cash and care. Intergenerational transfers in the families of the oldest-old and their consequences for inequality

PI: Carin Lennartsson

Senior Lecturer in Social Gerontology

The downsizing of institutional care has placed more responsibility for eldercare on families. Families redistribute resources through intergenerational transfers of cash and care over the life-course, making past transfers important to consider. These transfers may contribute to gender and socioeconomic inequalities, as families often allocate care duties to women and have varying amounts of resources available for providing transfers. Also, in recent years, relative poverty has increased among older adults in Sweden.

The aim is to study how inequalities are shaped and responded to by families through transfers of cash and care between older adults and their adult children. We will use long-term longitudinal and cross-cohort data to answer the following questions:

• Are intergenerational transfers of cash and care unequally distributed by gender and socioeconomic position of recipients and receivers?
• Are upward intergenerational transfers of cash and care formed by reciprocity and needs over the life-course, and are there distinct socioeconomic and gender patterns in these life course exchanges?
• Do downward financial transfers lead to increased inequality between families and decreased inequality within families of the receiving generation?

Understanding the family’s role as a provider of cash and care and the transmission of gender and socioeconomic inequalities across generations is crucial in policy planning, with impacts on both older adults and younger generations.

This project is funded by the Swedish Research Council (VR).