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The Baby Boomers and the Potential for Inter-Generational Conflict

Chapter 1 briefly outlined two key debates that our research on intergenerational financial gifts seeks to make a major contribution to. These were the potential for inter-generational conflict between the ‘baby boom’ generation and younger generations, and the nature of ‘family’ and family obligations. This chapter analyses, in greater detail, the arguments and existing evidence in relation to the first of those debates which rests on the idea that there is a powerful generation of baby boomers with both political and economic strength compared with other generations. This generation is also seen by some as a ‘lucky’ generation which has benefitted from the introduction of the welfare state and other favourable conditions, such as the expansion of free higher education, a buoyant labour market and increasing house prices.

In this chapter, we consider each of these points in turn, beginning with an analysis of demographic data on ‘the baby boom’ generation to consider the nature of this cohort and the extent to which this group is a single, homogeneous group. We then review the claims relating to the economic and political power of this generation before considering the extent to which they have met favourable welfare, education, labour market and housing conditions during their lives so far and in compari- © The Author(s) 2017

K. Rowlingson et al., Inter-generational Financial Giving and Inequality, Palgrave Macmillan Studies in Family and Intimate Life,

DOI 10.1057/978-1-349-95047-8_2

son with other generations. The chapter analyses arguments and existing evidence before later chapters draw on our new empirical research to explore these issues further.

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