Host: Vegard Skirbekk
Pieter Vanhuysse, PhD (LSE) is Full Professor at the Department of Political Science and Public Management and the Danish Centre for Welfare Studies (DaWS) of the University of Southern Denmark, and Board Member of the Interdisciplinary Centre on Population Dynamics at the Faculty of Business and Social Sciences (CPOP-SAMF). Pieter has published widely in political sociology, political demography and political economy, focusing on welfare states, public policies, demographic change, sustainability and intergenerational justice, and quality education and human capital (SDGs 4, 10, and 16).
Families and policies both are main vehicles of intergenerational transfers. Working-age people are net contributors; children and older persons net beneficiaries. However, there is an asymmetry in socialization. Working-age people pay taxes and social security contributions to institutionalize care for older persons as a generation, but invest private resources to raise their own children, often with large social returns. This results in asymmetric statistical visibility. Elderly transfers are near-fully observed in National Accounts; those to children much less. Analysing ten European societies, we employ National Transfer Accounts to include public and private transfers, and National Time Transfer Accounts to value unpaid household labour. All three transfer channels combined, children receive more than twice as many per-capita resources as older persons. Europe is a continent of elderly-oriented welfare states and strongly child-oriented parents. Since children are also ever-scarcer public goods in aging societies, why has investment in them not been socialized more in the age of the supposed social investment paradigm?