European Journal of Ageing

, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 161–173 | Cite as

European patterns of intergenerational financial and time transfers

  • Claudine Attias-DonfutEmail author
  • Jim Ogg
  • François-Charles Wolff
Original Investigation


The ageing of the European population is expected to strongly influence both the structure of family relations and the pattern of private transfers between generations. Using data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe conducted from the perspective of adults aged 50 and above in ten European countries, we provide an analysis of financial and time transfers, either given or received. Our results show that cash gifts mainly flow to the younger generations, while time transfers are directed both upwards and downwards. When comparing the countries, we find some remarkable similarity in the pattern of transfers, although there are inter-country differences. These differences sometimes follow the expected north-south European gradient, but not always. The results suggest that the social and demographic transformations currently taking place in Europe often have contradictory and paradoxical effects upon the nature of intergenerational exchanges.


Intergenerational transfers Family support Cross-country comparison 



We are grateful to the editor and two anonymous referees for helpful comments and suggestions on a previous draft. This paper uses data from the early release 1 of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) 2004. This release is preliminary and may contain errors that will be corrected in later releases. The SHARE data collection has been primarily funded by the European Commission through the 5th framework programme (project QLK6-CT-2001-00360 in the thematic programme Quality of Life programme area). Additional funding came from the US National Institute on Aging (U01 AG09740-13S2, P01 AG005842, P01 AG08291, P30 AG12815, Y1-AG- 4553-01 and OGHA 04-064). Data collection in Austria (through the Austrian Science Foundation, FWF), Belgium (through the Belgian Science Policy Administration) and Switzerland (through BBW/OFES/UFES) was nationally funded. The SHARE data set is introduced in Börsch-Supan et al. (2005); methodological details are contained in Börsch-Supan and Jürges (2005).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claudine Attias-Donfut
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jim Ogg
    • 2
  • François-Charles Wolff
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Caisse Nationale d‘Assurance VieillesseParisFrance
  2. 2.Young Foundation, London and CNAVParisFrance
  3. 3.LEN, Faculté des Sciences EconomiquesUniversité de NantesParisFrance
  4. 4.CNAV and INEDParisFrance

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