The anticipated, dramatic shift in the demographics of European societies over the next half a century begs many questions about the state of relations between generations. Papers and speculations portraying a world in which the elderly rule through parliamentary majorities, preventing reductions in pensions and ‘enslaving’ the working population are surprisingly common. Existing literature on these hypotheses focus on the policy preference differences between the young and the old with evidence mixed as to the accuracy of these predictions. This paper aims to build on this debate by looking at the effects that the dependency ratio has on intergenerational relations. By using a multilevel methodology and data from the 2008 European Social Survey, the effect of demographic structure can be observed on the individual level. Yet whilst evidence is found of decreasing legitimacy of welfare for the elderly, this paper argues that this does not point to increasing intergenerational conflict in Europe.

Intergenerational relations . Societal ageing . Intergenerational solidarity,
Journal of Population Ageing
Department of Public Administration and Sociology (DPAS)

Emery, T.E. (2012). Intergenerational Conflict: Evidence from Europe. Journal of Population Ageing, 5, 7–22. doi:10.1007/s12062-011-9052-6