Focusing mostly on Europe, this overview reveals how the research on cross-national differences in intergenerational family relations has movedfrombasic descriptions to a focus on understanding how support exchanges are shaped by macro-level processes.A key issue concerns generational interdependence, the extent to whichpublic policy arrangements impose reliance on older and younger family members or enable individual autonomy.Real theoretical progress is visible in three areas of research. The first pertains to analyses at the micro level of how family members actuallyrespond to the incentives that different macro contexts provide. The generosity or restrictedness of public provisions variably releases or necessitatesnormative obligationsin interdependent family relationships. The second area of progress involves analyses of the implications of specific policies rather than policy packages for gender and socioeconomic inequality. The third area of progress is a more nuanced view on the familialism-individualism divide. These three areas provide inspiring examples for future investigations.Translational significance: citizens and policy makers will benefit from knowledge about the different implications that different policies have for gender and socioeconomic policy. Cash for care payments, which are taken more easily by women than men, and by low paid women than high paid women, increase the likelihood of poverty in old age. Care services better assist men and women in reconciling family care and paid work.

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Innovation in Aging
Department of Sociology

Dykstra, P. (2017). Cross-National Perspectives on Intergenerational Family Relations: The Influence of Public Policy Arrangements. Innovation in Aging, 2017, 1–23. doi:10.1093/geroni/igx032