Conference Agenda

RN01_01a: Ageing and the Life Course
Wednesday, 21/Aug/2019:
11:00am - 12:30pm

Session Chair: Kathrin Komp-Leukkunen, University of Helsinki
Location: UP.3.204
University of Manchester Building: University Place, Third Floor Oxford Road


Non Take-Up of Welfare Benefits and Poverty Trajectories in Old Age in Switzerland: Results from a five-year follow-up study

Sonja Kubat1, Rainer Gabriel1,2,3, Kushtrim Adili1

1Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW); 2Center for the interdisciplinary study of gerontology and vulnerability (CIGEV); 3National Centre of Competence in Research LIVES – Overcoming vulnerability: Life course perspectives

Even though Switzerland is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, recent studies show that the share of pensioners living in poverty is situated between 15% and 25%, depending on the chosen poverty measure and the underlying data. However, little is known when it comes to the actual mechanisms that create poverty in old age.

In our contribution, we focus on one specific mechanism that is known under the term of “non take-up”: It is based on the observation, that some people who would be entitled to social welfare benefits do not claim them. We aim to extend the current literature by testing whether the fact of not requesting the benefits is mediated by psychological resources or factors related to the life course.

Methodologically, we will use data from the gerontological survey “Vivre-Leben-Vivere” (VLV) which was conducted in 2011 as well as its five-year follow up in 2016. We will assess how participant’s financial situation – operationalized in a binary poor vs. non-poor logic – in 2011 and 2016 is related to non take-up of social welfare benefits. For the mediation analysis of the association between poverty trajectories and non take-up we employ two psychological measures (depression and motivation) as well as retrospective life course information (including work-, migration-, and family trajectories) that were collected by means of a life calendar in the first wave of the survey.

Social Support Provision and Employment Trajectories – Longitudinal Findings on Gender Inequalities from the German Ageing Survey

Claudia Vogel, Daniela Klaus

German Centre of Gerontology, Germany

Unpaid work such as giving social support to older family members is known to be more widespread among women than among men, due to a gender specific division of paid and unpaid work. We investigate in which stages of the life course individuals are most likely to provide support and whether (and how) the support trajectories differ for women and men. We focus on middle and later life (individuals aged 40 to 90 years) and consider the provision of grandchild care and help provided to others who are in bad health as well as being in full-time or part-time employment.

Using panel data of the German Ageing Survey (starting in 1996), we estimate logistic panel regression models to analyse gender differences in trajectories. The data of more than 20,000 individuals and nearly 40,000 observations are available.

As women on average start earlier in their life course to provide social support than men, women are more likely to arrange paid work and unpaid work over a longer duration. If men provide support for others, they do this mainly after entering retirement.

The life course dynamics of providing support need to be taken into account regarding social inequalities in old age because not only discontinuous employment trajectories due to child care have an impact on the on average lower old age incomes of women but also the burden to provide care for family members in later career stages.

Emotional Support Networks and Care Exchanges: a Life Course Perspective

Tiziana Nazio

WZB Berlin Social Science Center, Germany

This study adopts a life course approach to investigate the association between early family formation trajectories and differences in emotional support networks and informal care provision in later life. Sequence analysis on data from SHARE surveys (waves 3 and 4) compare family trajectories for individuals from the birth cohorts 1927-58 in five selected countries: Italy, (East and West) Germany, France, Denmark and Czech Republic. Family trajectories (timing of union formation and dissolution, childlessness and children parity over 31 years, at ages 16-46) are clustered by means of sequence analysis. The variability in patterns of family formation trajectories is used to predict elderly’s emotional support network characteristics and care exchanged by means of a set of multivariate analyses (poisson, hierarchical probit and ordered logit models). Results from the sequence analyses revealed nine common patterns of family trajectories.

These early family trajectories are significant predictors of the size of emotional support networks. Childless individuals, or those with just one child, tend to have smaller emotional support network. This is also true of individuals who suffered union disruption, especially in Czech Republic and Italy. However, union reformation seems to compensate for the lost part of the network. Results also found that the social network that provides emotional support overlaps only in part with that providing practical help. It is instead current family circumstances (number of children, the presence of a partner and the geographical distance to the potential caregivers), rather than family trajectories, what best predicts the exchange of practical help and personal care.

Lifecourse and Old-Age Vulnerability: The Case of Migrants in Switzerland

Sarah M. Ludwig-Dehm, Oana Ciobanu

University of Geneva, Switzerland

While the group of older migrants in European countries is growing, researchers are becoming more interested in the topic of ageing of immigrants. However, research on old-age migrant vulnerability is still a relatively new topic and little is known about factors that might contribute to or even protect from old-age vulnerability, specifically for migrants. The aim of this project is twofold. First, we will examine and categorize typical life trajectories for natives and migrants and analyze how these affect old-age well-being and life satisfaction. Second, we will examine how transnationalism might protect migrants from vulnerability in old-age. Transnationalism, including transnational ties or a transnational lifestyle, can provide access to additional resources that can help migrants to overcome or avert vulnerability, resulting in lower old-age vulnerability.

The data for this project comes from the first wave of the VLV (Vivre – Leben – Vivere) study in Switzerland from the years 2011 and 2012. The VLV is a Swiss longitudinal study of ageing, interviewing people aged 65 or older. The first wave includes an immigrant oversample as well as detailed information for all respondents based on a life event history calendar. These two aspects allow us to use life trajectories and explore their importance for old-age vulnerability for natives as well as migrants. The results of this study will provide researchers as well as policy makers with new insights into vulnerability for the growing older migrant population.