8. Eldercare services in Europe – recent developments in European countries

Annette Angermann, Observatory for Sociopolitical Developments in Europe, German Association for Public and Private Welfare Berlin, Germany, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

Werner Eichhorst, Institute for the Study of Labor, IZA Bonn, Germany This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

Social services are a core pillar of European welfare states. Yet, there a huge differences across European countries in the importance and structure of social services, in particular when looking into formal old-age care services and related personal and household services. The provision of such services has a fundamental impact on the living conditions of users and their families, and at the same time they are an increasingly important area of job creation, which influences in particular the labour market participation of women, both to the extent that they make up for most employees in these field and to the extent that informal carers, predominantly women, are at least partially relieved from this responsibility. Yet, promoting formal care services requires the development of appropriate governance and funding mechanisms.

While demographic change tends to raise demand for care services, public resources to support these services tend to be limited, and the pressure to consolidate budget will likely increase over the next years in many EU member states. As a response we have seen a number of reforms affecting access to, generosity and delivery of formal services, bringing in private actors into the delivery and co-funding as well as trying to support informal care provision. The stream invites both case studies at the national or subnational level and comparative papers analysing the structures and recent developments of social services, espacially old-age care, personal and household services, in European countries. We particularly invite papers that address one or more of the following topics: (i) governance of eldercare services, also taking into account reforms to restructure formerly public service provision by bringing in private actors; (ii) the development of employment, vocational training and working conditions in eldercare services; (iii) quality standards, quality monitoring and user satisfaction; (iv) funding mechanisms and reforms and their potential distributional consequences in terms of access and supply of services; (v) effects of different forms of care delivery on wellbeing, labour market participation or incomes.

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