Conflict or solidarity? Intergenerational relations in the face of population ageing. A comparison of Germany and Japan.

  • Summary This dissertation investigates whether population ageing is associated with a distribution-based intergenerational conflict. While comparing two pioneers of ageing, Germany and Japan, the analysis attempts to show tendencies that are relevant for a wider set of countries amid their own demographic developmental paths. Studying intergenerational relations on both the societal and the family level, this analysis is more nuanced than previous studies. A two-dimensional typology is proposed to define four ideal scenarios of intergenerational relations, of which intergenerational conflict is one case (consisting of weak solidarity on both the societal and the family level). Narrowing down the scope of analysis from the aggregate to the family and individual level, intergenerational solidarity is first presented based on National Transfer Accounts data. This discussion shows how public and private (financial) transfers secure the lives of individuals over the life cycle with elderly persons being net receivers of public transfers and net donors of private transfers. Onwards, the evolution of intergenerational solidarity is discussed in the context of political, economic and institutional factors, such as family. On the societal level, this study draws on the literature of labour market dualisation, Rueda’s insideroutsider model, and Mannheim’s concept of political generations. Based on data from the International Social Survey Programme, spanning over 20 years (1996-2016), policy preferences regarding government expenditure on old-age are found to differ with regard to age, cohort and employment status. Results show that intergenerational societal solidarity has remained strong in Germany but has vanished in Japan. On the family level, intergenerational relations are studied based on theories of saving and transfer giving, together with the concepts of social care and de-familialisation policies. Using data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe and the Japanese Study of Aging and Retirement, covering 11 (2004-2015) and 6 years (2007-2013) respectively, financial and non-financial transfer giving between generations is scrutinised. Results show strong solidarity within families for both countries. In comparison, Germany appears to find itself in a more favourable position to sustain its unwritten contract of intergenerational sharing consisting of the public and private sector. In Japan, signs of a political generation are emerging, whose interests differ significantly from those of older generations regarding the role of the welfare state. Developments in Japan may have repercussions for the design of the welfare state in years to come. [...]

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Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Author(s):Felix Lill
Advisor:Michaela Kreyenfeld
Referee:Gabriele Vogt
Hertie Collections (Serial Number):Dissertations submitted to the Hertie School (03/2018)
Publication year:2018
Publishing Institution:Hertie School
Granting Institution:Hertie School
Thesis date:2018/05/04
Number pages:226
Release Date:2018/07/06
Shelf mark: 2018D002 + 2018D002+1
Hertie School Research:Publications PhD Researchers
Licence of document (German):Creative Commons - CC BY - 4.0 International
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