The Transfer Cost of Parenthood in Europe
40 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2020
Date Written: September 9, 2020
What are the net inter-age resource transfer burdens over the life course of working-age parents as compared to working-age non-parents in Europe? We estimate all cash, in-kind, and time transfers of the market economy and the household economy, through both public and familial channels, for fourteen European countries in the early 2000s. We advance National Transfer Accounts methodology by splitting up macro-aggregates into three groups: parents, non-parents living in childless households and non-parents cohabiting with children. We find that non-parents contribute almost exclusively to public transfers in net terms, somewhat more than parents do. But parents provide, in addition, a still larger amount of familial transfers. As a result, parents contribute on average 1.8 times as many net transfers as non-parents do, overall. Especially in view of the public good nature of children and contemporary rates of childlessness in Europe, this asymmetric transfer burden carries multiple implications for debates on public policy and a just society.
Keywords: National Transfer Accounts, Parenthood, Cost of Children, Inter-Generational Transfers, Children As Public Goods, Pronatalist Policy
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