European Journal of Ageing

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 67–78 | Cite as

Welfare states and quality of later life: distributions and predictions in a comparative perspective

  • Andreas Motel-KlingebielEmail author
  • Laura Romeu Gordo
  • Jörg Betzin
Original Investigation


Demographic transitions are a driver of social change and societal ageing influences the resources and chances in life of different age groups. As a contribution to the debate on (potential) results of the transformation of social security in ageing societies, the impact of social security systems on distributions of quality of life in later life is discussed. Quality of life is introduced as a helpful concept to answer the paper’s research questions: How are levels of quality of life in later life and the variability of objective and subjective quality of life indicators related to welfare state arrangements? What is the relevance of social structure indicators for this variability, how is it related to old age security, and what can be learned for the perspectives of current debates on equity and social security reforms? In a comparative perspective employing Esping-Andersen’s welfare regime typology, three basic hypotheses are thoroughly tested: the ‘hypothesis of (relative) levels’, the ‘distribution hypothesis’ and the ‘social structure hypothesis’. The analyses apply micro data from ten countries. While most of them are included in the first wave of the international comparative research project SHARE, data for England come from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. Descriptive analyses as well as multivariate models prove an interconnection between welfare state systems and quality of life indicators but not all three hypotheses can be fully confirmed. Social policy implications of these findings are discussed and a basis for extended future analyses is outlined.


Later life Social gerontology Social inequality Quality of life International comparisons 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andreas Motel-Klingebiel
    • 1
    Email author
  • Laura Romeu Gordo
    • 1
  • Jörg Betzin
    • 1
  1. 1.German Centre of Gerontology (DZA)BerlinGermany

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