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Social Expenditures on Children and the Elderly in OECD Countries, 1980–1995: Shifting Allocations, Changing Needs

  • Janet C. Gornick
Part of the International Studies In Population book series (ISIP, volume 3)

This chapter assesses the allocation of public social welfare expenditures on the elderly versus children during a 15-year period—1980–1995—a period widely understood to be one of social policy restructuring and change across the industrialized countries. The analysis takes as its starting point a 1984 article by the American demographer Samuel Preston. In an influential article, Preston argued that, in the two prior decades, as the elderly share of the U.S. population grew and the child population fell, public resources shifted toward the elderly, because the elderly’s swelling numbers granted them increased political leverage—or as popularly coined, “gray power.” In this study, I revisit the Preston thesis, by considering trends in social expenditures on the elderly and children, against the backdrop of graying populations in a group of 14 industrialized countries, including the United States.

Keywords

Welfare State Elderly Person Child Poverty Population Share Social Expenditure 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Janet C. Gornick
    • 1
  1. 1.Baruch College and The Graduate CenterCity University of New YorkUSA

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