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Negotiating Family Support? The ‘Generational Contract’ between long-term Care and Inheritance

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 November 2004

MISA IZUHARA
Affiliation:
Research Fellow, School for Policy Studies, University of Bristol, 8 Priory Road, Bristol BS8 1TZ, Tel: 0117 954 5576 email: M.Izuhara@bristol.ac.uk

Abstract

Using qualitative interviews with 54 older people, this article explores the changing patterns of the ‘generational contract’ in contemporary Britain and Japan. In particular, this article presents a cross-national comparison concerning the exchange of housing assets and long-term care between older parents and their adult children in the context of different laws, cultures, social policy and housing markets. The concepts of intergenerational solidarity, reciprocity and ambivalence were used to aid the analysis of the household data. The research found there were significant cross-national differences in areas such as autonomy and decision-making process regarding bequests, and choice of beneficiaries. In both societies, however, no strong link was found between bequest motives and family support for long-term care. The model of intergenerational solidarity (willingness to help children) thus appeared to override the reciprocal dimension of the ‘generational contract’.

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Article
Copyright
© 2004 Cambridge University Press

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