European Journal of Ageing

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 301–312 | Cite as

Intergenerational private transfers: Portugal in the European context

  • Paula C. AlbuquerqueEmail author
Original Investigation


Intergenerational private transfers should be made important as a common occurrence in familialistic societies when establishing the identity of Southern European welfare state regimes. They function as a safety net and as a way of reinforcing the bonds amongst elements in a family. Although Portugal is undoubtedly a Southern European country, it is frequently ignored in comparative studies, and is assumed to share the characteristics of Spain and Italy. But do these countries really belong to a common, distinctive model? Portugal was included in the fourth wave of the survey of health, ageing and retirement in Europe, which provides a large sample for the study of intergenerational private transfers in this country. It also enables comparison with what happens elsewhere in Europe. We examine the upward and downward flows between generations and identify several important determinants of each type of transfers. Additionally, we show that the different types and directions of transfers are positively correlated, pointing to a self-reinforcement of transfer behaviour in families. We find that Portugal has an especially low probability of private transfers of time and money. After taking into consideration the household-level characteristics, none of the countries included in this study has a significantly lower probability of occurrence of any type of transfer than that of Portugal. A Southern European specific pattern of family transfers is only partially confirmed, yet Portugal and Spain do share the same model.


Private intergenerational transfers Country comparisons Portugal Europe Families SHARE 



This paper uses data from SHARE Wave 4 release 1.1.1, as of March 28th 2013. SHARE data collection has been primarily funded by the European Commission through the 5th Framework Programme (project QLK6-CT-2001-00360 under the thematic programme entitled ‘Quality of Life’), through the 6th Framework Programme (projects SHARE-I3, RII-CT-2006-062193, COMPARE, CIT5-CT-2005-028857, and SHARELIFE, CIT4-CT-2006-028812) and also through the 7th Framework Programme (SHARE-PREP, No. 211909, SHARE-LEAP, No. 227822 and SHARE M4, No. 261982). Additional funding from the U.S. National Institute on Aging (U01 AG09740-13S2, P01 AG005842, P01 AG08291, P30 AG12815, R21 AG025169, Y1-AG-4553-01, IAG BSR06-11 and OGHA 04-064) and the German Ministry of Education and Research, as well as from various national sources, is gratefully acknowledged (see for a full list of funding institutions). We also thank the reviewers for their suggestions which helped to considerably improve this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ISEG/ University of Lisbon/ SOCIUSLisbonPortugal

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