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Solidarity in Times of Crisis from a Sociological Perspective: A Comparative Analysis of Intergenerational Support in six European Countries

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People in countries substantially affected by the recent fiscal-economic crisis are facing disruptions of their everyday lives due to tightened labor markets and recently implemented austerity measures reducing the level of public social protection. In those circumstances, particularly in Southern European countries with strong familialistic traditions, the family network can represent a pool of resources, potentially cushioning impacts of unemployment and income loss to some degree by providing prolonged accommodation, financial support and instrumental help. In this exploratory analysis, we (1) review sociological research on intergenerational solidarity, (2) derive expectations of its changes in times of economic crisis and (3) examine, whether there is empirical evidence for transformed patterns of interenerational solidarity between family members before and after the onset of the crisis in six European countries. We compare patterns of intergenerational solidarity over time by analysing data from the first (2004) and the fourth (2010/11) wave of the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). We focus on rates of (a) intergenerational cohabitation, (b) financial transfers and (c) instrumental help. Our descriptive results do not provide an indication of structural changes of behavior of intergenerational solidarity directly linkable to the crisis. Rates of intergenerational cohabitation, financial transfers from older to younger generations and intergenerational support by looking after grandchildren show only negligible changes after the onset of the crisis. Therefore, the results do not support the notion of divergent effects on intergenerational solidarity between countries with different levels of exposure to the economic crisis and distinct public welfare and family traditions.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 March 2014

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  • Archiv des Völkerrechts (Archive of Public International Law - AVR) has been founded as a quarterly journal in 1948. With its scientific papers, reports and book reviews, the journal covers the full spectrum of developments in public international law.

    Das Archiv des Völkerrechts ist eine im Jahre 1948 gegründete Vierteljahresschrift. In Abhandlungen, Berichten und Buchbesprechungen behandelt sie die Entwicklung des internationalen Rechts in seiner ganzen Breite. Das AVR ist ein Forum der deutschsprachigen Völkerrechtswissenschaft und sucht den internationalen Dialog des Faches.

    Die Beiträge reflektieren dogmatische und theoretische Grundfragen des Völkerrechts ebenso wie die Entwicklung der internationalen Rechtsprechung. Die behandelten Rechtsgebiete reichen vom überlieferten Kernbestand des zwischenstaatlichen Völkerrechts und des Rechts der bewaffneten Konflikte über das Recht internationaler Organisationen, die Menschenrechte, das Umweltvölkerrecht und Welthandelsrecht bis hin zu Fragen des internationalen Verwaltungsrechts.

    Im Mittelpunkt standen in der jüngsten Zeit neben Beiträgen zu aktuellen völkerrechtlichen Konflikten insbesondere die Diskussion um die wechselseitige Durchdringung partikularer und universeller Rechtsordnungen und die Entstehung einer materialen völkerrechtlichen Prinzipienordnung.Das AVR erscheint vierteljährlich und veröffentlicht Beiträge in deutscher, englischer und französischer Sprache.

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