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Grandparents Caring for Their Grandchildren: Findings from the 2004 Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe


  • Karsten Hank


  • Isabella Buber

    (Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA))


Introducing findings from the 2004 Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), this research complements the large number of recent U.S. studies on the role of grandparents in caring for their grandchildren. For 10 continental European countries, we investigate cross-national variations in grandparent provided child care as well as differences in characteristics of the providers and recipients of care. While we find a strong involvement of grandparents in their grandchildren’s care across all countries, we also identify significant variations in the prevalence and intensity of care along the geographic lines of different child care and (maternal/female) employment regimes in Europe. Rooted in long-standing family cultures, the observed patterns suggest a complex interaction between welfare-state provided services and intergenerational family support in shaping the work-family nexus for younger parents. We conclude with a brief discussion of possible consequences of grandmothers’ increasing labor force participation for child care arrangements.

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  • Karsten Hank & Isabella Buber, 2007. "Grandparents Caring for Their Grandchildren: Findings from the 2004 Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe," MEA discussion paper series 07127, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  • Handle: RePEc:mea:meawpa:07127

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