Intergenerational Support of Older Adults by the 'Mature' Sandwich Generation: The Relevance of National Policy Regimes

Merril Silverstein, Aviad Tur-Sinai, Noah Lewin-Epstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


In this article we examine the association between national welfare regime and the propensity of middle-aged and older individuals with adult children of their own to provide social support to aged parents. Using data from mature adults (50+) in 26 European countries, we examine whether older and younger generations compete for the time resources of the middle "sandwiched" generation, and whether national policy context shapes this competition. Contrary to expectations, we found that sandwich generation members were less likely to provide support to their parents in Conservative-Mediterranean and East European regimes, but more likely to do so in universalistic Social-Democratic regimes. This evidence supports the hypothesis that well-developed welfare states "crowd-in" family support to older individuals. Middle generation members who provided social support to their adult children tended to provide to their older parents as well. This was particularly true in the two regimes where resources and public benefits tend to be more generous and may be interpreted as state benefits that reduce intergenerational competition. Findings are discussed in terms of the capacity of state policies to shape the allocation of family resources to older adults where extended family lineages have become the norm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-76
Number of pages22
JournalTheoretical Inquiries in Law
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law


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