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Round 4: Switzerland

Original title Generationensolidarität in der Schweiz: Einstellungen der 15- bis 45-Jährigen zu den Altersrentebeziehenden und dem Wohlfahrtsstaat
English title Inter-generational solidarity in Switzerland: Attitudes of 15 to 45 year olds towards recipients of old-age pension and the welfare state
Language German
Type Thesis/dissertation
Year 2016


Almost three quarters of the Swiss welfare expenditures are spent on age and health. Therefore the welfare state relies heavily on the solidarity of the younger generation. Based on a quantitative secondary analysis of the European Social Survey of 2008, this master thesis examines the attitudes of 15 to 45 year olds in Switzerland towards the recipients of old-age pension. Of particular interest is the relationship of these attitudes as well as the perceptions regarding the standard of living of elderly people, the effects of welfare performance and also the future of old-age pension and health care to the support of state responsibility for age and health. Theoretical findings on generations, justice, solidarity and the welfare state underpin the analysis. The results of statistical analysis show that the attitudes towards the future of old-age pension and health care are pessimistic and vary according to education and gender. Nevertheless, the 15 to 45 year olds declare solidarity with the positively connoted older generation. The study shows that about ten per cent of this younger generation does not make any judgments on the addressed economic issues: Therefore the ones in the lowest education category are significantly less likely to take position concerning the economic burden of welfare expenditures and the future of old-age pension and health care than the ones in the other education categories. Women also comment significantly less than man and under 30 year olds comment less than 31 to 45 year olds on the economic burden of welfare expenditures. Contrary to the expectations, correlations between the observed variables are weak. Yet, the study provides evidence that social norms and public discourse are relevant to support the welfare state. The concept of welfare state itself seems to be polarizing the attitudes. Finally, the findings provide important insights, which support the significance of promoting cross-generational contacts and volunteering as well as the need for transferring insights and concerns from social work into the public.

Type/degreeMaster of Science
Awarding institutionZurich University of Applied Sciences School of Social Work
Number of pages84
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