The prospects of age war: Inequality between (and within) age groups


Journal Article

For decades, political analysts have been predicting a war between age groups over scarce public resources, such as income, health care, and social services. This article examines theoretical propositions and emp11irical evidence regarding the possibility of such intergenerational conflict. After providing an overview of demographic changes that proponents of age wars use to buttress their arguments of impending conflict, I use data from the 1996 General Social Survey to test for age group differences in public opinion toward government spending on old age assistance. Results from logistic regression models show that age is not a strong differentiator of public opinion on federal government spending for older adults. For only one dependent variable, too little spending on Social Security, did age group differences remain after controlling for demographic, social class, and political affiliation variables-and this in the opposite direction to that predicted by the "gray peril" hypothesis. Empirical results highlight the intersecting cleavages of sex, race, education, income, subjective class location, and political affiliation that reduce the potential for age wars. © 2001 Academic Press.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Hamil-Luker, J

Published Date

  • January 1, 2001

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 30 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 386 - 400

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0049-089X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1006/ssre.2001.0703

Citation Source

  • Scopus