Intergenerational equity is now a major policy issue in both the US and UK. There is a widespread perception that the younger generations have been relatively disadvantaged by economic and demographic changes over the last 30 years.

The debate, unfortunately, has been handicapped by the lack of a consistent approach to quantify all the different channels by which generations transfer resources to each other. This is the principal aim of this research project.

The project will produce a comprehensive set of accounts for both the UK and US that measures all economic resources available to each generation, how those resources are used and how this has changed over the last 40-50 years.

Project researchers:

James Allan Sefton
Imperial College

David Glen McCarrthy
University of Georgia

Ron Demos Lee
University of Berkeley

Martin Weale
Kings College London


This project is made possible by some close collaborations with other organisations also researching the distribution of resources over time between the generations.

The National Transfer Accounts project is shedding new light on many areas of importance to policymakers. These include the evolution of inter-generational transfer systems; public policy with respect to pensions, health care, education, reproductive health, and social institutions, such as the extended family; and the social, political, and economic implications of population aging.

The Resolution Foundation is a non-partisan and award-winning think-tank that works to improve the living standards of those in Britain on low to middle incomes, who conduct authoritative analytical research on living standards in the UK and produce effective policy solutions that help shape the debate on economic and social policy.

See all our collaborations

Funding body

The project is funded by the UK Economic & Social Research Council, (ESRC), grant number P59798.