Marco Albertini

The Generational Contract and Its Public and Private Dimensions: Balances and Imbalances among Generations in Italy

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The public dimension of the generational contract which is at the very basis of the Italian welfare system strongly favors older generations. An analysis of both social service budget allocations and welfare regime outcomes - in terms of individuals' net equivalent incomes - shows that in the last thirty years young families have experienced a quite dramatic deterioration of their socio-economic conditions. However, the disequilibrium of the public dimension of the generational contract is partly compensated by events in the private dimension of the same contract. Analysis of intergenerational exchanges within the family reveals that there is a net downward flow of resources (both of time and money) from parents to children. In comparison to what occurs in other European countries, Italian young people benefit from a longer period of coresidency and shared consumption with their parents and, once they leave their parental home, enjoy more intense (although less likely) resource transfers. Overall the specific settings of the private and public dimensions of the Italian generational contract seem to have quite adverse effects on young Italians' transition to adulthood and appear to be increasingly unsustainable.


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