János Bocz – István Harcsa

The characteristics of the interhousehold transactions in Hungary in the mid eighties and the late nineties

 

Sunbelt XXI – International Sunbelt Social Network Conference

25–28 April 2001 Budapest, Hungary

 

Introduction

         Radical changes occurred in the Hungarian society and the economic system after the time of political transformation in 1989-90. Not only the property nexus, but also the employees’ labour market position modified significantly. The state and the co-operative property – for example the agricultural lands – were privatised, the service industries market increased and the consumers’ habit changed too. It became a significant question how the structural changes influenced the co-operation of the households. Whether they developed a new behaviour in order to adapt their housekeeping practice to the new circumstances or they kept their previous habits.

 

Aim of the lecture

Through the use of two surveys this lecture will present the frequency of the interhousehold transactions in Hungary in the mid eighties and the late nineties. We will analyse the composition of the households supporting each other, the types and forms of the households’ co-operation, the differences in demographic features between those households, who get and those who give supports. The comprehensive analysis of the results make possible to demonstrate the structural changes having taken place since the mid 80s.

 

Data sources

The empirical data are based on two living conditions and time use surveys, which were carried out by the Hungarian Statistical Office in 1986 and 2000. Both samples included more than 10 thousand households. The surveys contain data about the households social and demographic features and their daily activity, too. The first phase of the research has been concluded recently and our data contained the result of this.

 

Main results

1. The proportion of the households not taking part of the supporting system increased significantly, while in 1986 20 percent of the households, in 2000 already 31 percent  neither give nor get any support to or from other households.

2. At the same time the proportion of those households who only gave support decreased and the proportion of the households who only received any support increased.

3. This tendency – of course to different extent – can be perceptible at the non-financial and financial transaction both. Maybe seen in Figure 1 that the proportion of the households who are excluded from the supporting system increased to a high degree since 1986. In 2000 every second Hungarian household neither get nor give any financial support for others and 37 percent of them did not get and did not give any non-financial support too.

 

Before the explanation of the result we would like to give a full description collectively and severally of the changes in forms of the transaction and separately explore those demographic and social characteristics which influenced the composition of the supporting and supported households.

 

The financial and non-financial transactions by types and forms (Table 1)

We found interesting results comparing the different forms of transactions between 1986 and 2000. According to our results – as you can see in Table 1 – the measurement of the participation in the supporting system and the types of the transactions were remarkably different from the forms of the transactions. For example the proportion of those households who gave or received household work aggregately increased and those who get or gave agricultural work has not changed. In the case of other supports the proportion of the households who do not participate in the supporting system significantly grew. We could realise great differences when we examined the types of transactions separately also. The proportion of the households who only gave any support – except the household work – decreased in all forms of transactions, while the proportion of the households who only received any support – except the child and adult care, and the construction and renovation – increased. The measure of the so called mutual or reciprocal supports – when the household gave and received some support at the same time – except the household and agricultural work supports was also reduced. To sum it up what has been said behind the average figures – as I mentioned earlier – there are significant difference among the types and forms of the transactions.

 

The financial and non-financial transactions in terms of demographic and social characteristics

The analysis of the demographic and social data of the households shows interesting results as well. Further on we will inquire four variables through we can demonstrate those characteristics which affected the participation of the households in the supporting system. The first will be the residence of the household, the second is the age of the head of the household, the third is the household structure and the fourth is the household income level.

 

Residence of the household (Figure 2)

According to our results – as you can see in Figure 2 – the proportion of the households who remained outside the supporting system grew especially in big towns. In 2000 in Budapest every second household while in villages only every fourth of them were said  neither to give nor get support. The worse number of the cities are also provable by our reciprocal data, too. While in villages more than half of households gave and get support, the same shares in big towns and the capital were 40 and 30 percent, respectively. It seems that in big cities perceptibly the conditions of the households co-operation became worse while in smaller communities – to a less extent – remained the previous habits and the social conventions about the households transactions.

 

Age of the head of the household (Figure 3)

         Analysing the age of the head of the household, we found that mainly the generations below 40 were characterised by mutual supports. At the same time it was remarkable that in 2000 in the case of the so called one-way supports – when the household only give or only get support – the majority of those who only gave were between 40-69, and that of those who only got were less than 40 or older than 70 years. It means that – of course except the oldest generations – mostly the younger generations got support from the oldest ones – especially from their parents – and while earlier the transactions were more or less reciprocal, nowadays it works fairly often only in one-way.

 

Household structure (Table 2)

According to our results – as you can see in Figure 2 – the structure of the household significantly influenced the participation in the supporting system. Mainly the married with children took part in the transactions. Those families where there were not children under 18 were generally the supporters, while the singles and the one parent with children households were in bigger proportion among the supportees.

 

Household income level (Figure 4)

An interesting question for me whether there exist any connection between the income level of the household and the participation at the financial transactions. (This data only valid for the financial transactions in 2000.) Maybe seen in Figure 4 we can  compare those households with the others, who belong to the lowest quintile. They were in a bit bigger proportion among those who were not in the supporting system, furthermore the mutual transactions were not characteristic for them. A feature of the one-way transactions is that it depended on the income level, the higher the quintile was, the bigger the proportion of those who only gave, and the lower the quintile was, the bigger the share of those who only got supports.

 

Interpretations

And at last I would like to summarise the main reasons which maybe influenced the above mentioned results.

 

1. We think that our results were determined by the relevant structural changes in the Hungarian property nexus and the economic system. For example the unchanged high proportion of the given and received agricultural work can be explained by the privatisation of the agricultural lands, as a consequence of which the proportion of the small holders grew significantly. The result of it was that the related time-consuming work did not reduce, but increased. Probably the spreading demand and supply of the service industries sector caused that the proportion of the household who got or gave construction and repairing work reduced. Lots of household now buy these services in the market, while previously it could happen through mutual help.

 

2. The reduced proportion of the financial transactions are probably strongly connected with the worse income conditions of the Hungarian people. Because of the decreasing real income and the process of differentiation among the households, they can support others less often and to a less extent than earlier.

 

3. And at last but not least the individualistic tendencies and the transformation of the previous family and household network also had a serious influence on the alteration of the transactions habits. We think that since the mid 80’s the Hungarian households have not got so much friends and relatives to whom they could give or from whom they could receive supports. On the other hand the strong family ties became stronger and in 2000 the households mainly supported only close relatives or the members of the family whom they were a really strong and frequent connection with.

 

Finally I would like to say that the second phase of the research is going on, and now we are processing our further database for example the time use and the households network data which can add more relevant information to our knowledge about the households transaction in Hungary.

 

 

 

 


Definitions

 

Year of the surveys: 1986 and 2000.

 

Method of the surveys: questionnaire.

 

Sample size:        1986 –> N = 10.150 household

                     2000 –> N = 10.827 household

 

Population: Hungarian households.

 

Forms of transactions

Non-financial transactions:  Given or received household work, child and adult care, construction and renovation, repairing and maintaining, agricultural work

Financial transactions: Given or received food and second-hand clothes, cash, loans etc.

 

Type of transactions

No given no received:   if the household does not take part of the supporting system, if they do not give any support for other households and do not get any support from other households

Only given:  if the household take part of the supporting system, but they only give support for other households and do not get any support from other households.

Only received:  if the household take part of the supporting system, but they only get support from other households and do not give any support for other households.

Given and received: if the household take part of the supporting system, they give support for other households and get any support from other households too.


Figure 1 Proportion of households given and received transaction


 


Table 1 Distribution of households receiving or giving support

by form of transaction 1986, 2000

        (%)

Type of transactions

Non-financial support

Financial

support

household work

child and or adult care

constructi-on and renovation

repairing and maintaining

agricultural work

Total

1986

 

no given, no received

68

54

67

63

56

30

42

only given

17

24

21

14

16

24

26

only received

8

11

4

13

10

8

8

given and received

7

11

8

10

18

38

24

  Total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

2000

 

no given, no received

57

71

86

71

55

37

51

only given

16

16

7

9

11

17

15

only received

13

9

4

14

16

14

14

given and received

14

4

3

6

18

32

20

  Total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

 

Figure 2 Proportion of households receiving or giving support


by the type of residence 1986, 2000

 


Figure 3 Proportion of households receiving or support


by the age of the head of household 1986, 2000


Table 2 Distribution of households receiving or giving support

by family structure 1986, 2000

        (%)

Type of transactions

Family structure

single

married without children

married with one child

married with two or more children

single with children

two or more families

other

1986

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

no given, no received

24

16

18

19

27

18

27

only given

21

34

22

18

16

24

29

only received

10

5

7

6

14

5

5

given and received

45

45

53

57

43

53

39

  Total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

2000

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

no given, no received

31

30

27

28

32

25

36

only given

9

18

11

12

9

16

15

only received

19

9

10

9

15

8

8

given and received

41

43

52

51

44

51

41

  Total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

Figure 4 Proportion of households given or received financial transaction


by income quintiles, 2000

N = 10.825

 


Table 3 Proportion of households given or received financial transaction by the direction of household transaction, 2000

 

 
Direction of household transaction

The rank of the direction of household transaction

The household

 

not received but given for children

  1.  (19,0)

received from children and given for children

  2.  (15,5)

received from parents but not given

  3.  (14,5)

received from parents and given for parents

  4.  (12,4)

received from children but not given

  5.    (8,3)

not received but given for parents

  6.    (5,8)

not received but given for relatives

  7.    (4,9)

received from relatives but not given

  8.    (4,3)

received from relatives and given for relatives

  9.    (3,8)

received from parents and given for relatives

10.    (2,0)

 

In the parenthesis can be read the proportion of the mention of the households. N = 5.338