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PRO-ELDERLY WELFARE STATES WITHIN CHILD-ORIENTED SOCIETIES
Abstract: Households and public policies both serve as vehicles of lifecycle financing through intergenerational transfers. Working-age people are net contributors; children and the elderly net beneficiaries. However, there is a marked asymmetry in socialization in all rich societies. On the whole, working-age people pay taxes and social security contributions to institutionalize care for the elderly as a generation. But they devote significant amounts of money and time to raise their own children privately. This results in asymmetric statistical visibility. Transfers to the elderly are near-fully observed in National Accounts; those to children much less so. Analyzing ten European societies around 2005, we employ National Transfer Accounts to also include private transfers (cash). Second, we construct National Time Transfer Accounts to present first estimations of the value of time resources transferred as unpaid household labor. Contrary to much received wisdom, all ten societies transfer more per capita resources to children than to the elderly. On average, a child in Europe receives 73% of annual per capita prime-age labor income in his/her society through public and private cash and time transfers combined; an elderly person only 31%. Far from becoming gerontocratic, Europe is better viewed as a continent of small social investment states within large social investment societies – composed of citizens with short productive careers.