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Family Policies in Europe: Available Databases and Initial Comparisons

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Population trends in recent years have prompted most European countries to introduce or expand family support policies. In particular, the decline in fertility since the 1970s might be harmful in the long term. The number of children per family is often below the desired number declared in surveys. State support is intended to close the gap by lowering the barriers to having children. The increase in divorce, separation and blended families, and the numbers of children born outside marriage and living with `lone' parents, have also prompted countries to increase support for families, particularly for struggling families, whose children are the most vulnerable to poverty. At the same time, governments have sought to encourage women's workforce participation by ensuring that these policies enable parents to strike a better balance between work and family. Consequently, the total investment of governments in benefits and services for families has strongly increased recently, reaching an average of 2.4% of GDP in 2003 in OECD countries, compared with 1.6% in 1980.
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Vienna Yearbook of Population Research 2008, pp. 165-177 (DATA & TRENDS)
Family policies in Europe: available databases
and initial comparisons
Olivier Thévenon
Abstract
Population trends in recent years have prompted most European countries to
introduce or expand family support policies. In particular, the decline in fertility
since the 1970s might be harmful in the long term. The number of children per
family is often below the desired number declared in surveys. State support is
intended to close the gap by lowering the barriers to having children. The increase
in divorce, separation and blended families, and the numbers of children born
outside marriage and living with ‘lone’ parents, have also prompted countries to
increase support for families, particularly for struggling families, whose children
are the most vulnerable to poverty. At the same time, governments have sought to
encourage women’s workforce participation by ensuring that these policies enable
parents to strike a better balance between work and family. Consequently, the
total investment of governments in benefits and services for families has strongly
increased recently, reaching an average of 2.4% of GDP in 2003 in OECD
countries, compared with 1.6% in 1980.
1 Women’s workforce participation and fertility:
reconciled objectives?
Family policies vary considerably from one country to another. Some countries
have long-standing family policies that have continuously developed ever since
they were introduced to counteract new risks for families. Other countries have
introduced family policies more recently and these still consist of a disparate set
of welfare measures.
Countries also have different objectives, with stated priorities ranging from
support for fertility, support for the work/family balance, reducing inequality in
living standards or reducing family poverty, to support for children’s healthcare
Olivier Thévenon, Institut national d’études démographiques, 133 Boulevard Davout, 75980 Paris
Cedex 20, France. Email: olivier.thevenon@ined.fr. The author alone is responsible for the
opinions expressed in this paper.
DOI: 10.1553/populationyearbook2008s165
Family policies in Europe: available databases and initial comparisons
166
or education, or promotion of a more equitable division of family care between
men and women.
The two objectives of expanding women’s workforce participation and
increasing fertility were long considered at odds with each other. But the negative
correlation which was observed between female employment and fertility rates in
the early 1980s no longer exists—it even turned positive in the 2000s (Figure 1).
In fact, fertility rates are highest in those countries where the proportion of
women in the workforce is also highest. That is because public policies play a role
in reconciling these seemingly incompatible objectives. However, the resources
available to families for integrating work and family are different from country to
country. The types of government support vary according to the emphasis placed
on the family, the division of labour between men and women, and the labour
market (Esping-Andersen 1999; Thévenon 2006; Neyer 2006; Meulders and
O’Dorchai 2007).
Figure 1:
Total fertility rate and women’s workforce participation rate in OECD countries in
2005
AU
AT
BE
CA
CZ
DK
FI
FR
DE
GR
HU
IS
IR
IT
JP
KO
LU
MX
NL
NZ
NO
PL
PT
SK
ES
SW
CH
UK
US
OECD
1.0
1.5
2.0
2.5
40 50 60 70 80 90
Female employment rate (%)
To tal f ertility rate
AU: Australia, AT: Austria, BE: Belgium, CA: Canada, CH: Switzerland, CZ: Czech Republic,
KO: Korea, DE: Germany, DK: Denmark, ES: Spain, FI: Finland, FR: France, GR: Greece,
HU: Hungary, IR: Ireland, IS: Iceland, IT: Italy, JP: Japan, KO: Korea, LU: Luxembourg,
MX: Mexico, NL: Netherlands, NO: Norway, OECD: all OECD countries, PL: Poland,
PT: Portugal, SK: Slovakia, SW: Sweden, UK: United Kingdom, US: United States of America.
Source: OECD (2007).
Olivier Thévenon 167
2 Varied development of family support policies in Europe
To study these differences in policy, several databases have been created (see
Appendix for a presentation of different available databases). The most recent is
the Family Database developed at the OECD in 2006
(http://www.oecd.org/els/social/family/database). This dataset currently covers
OECD countries, and ultimately all EU member countries should also be
included. It contains socio-demographic contextual data as well as indicators on
support programmes, allowing comparisons of different configurations of family
policies, their context and their outcomes. In particular, the indicators make it
possible to compare policies on parental leave, child care and education facilities
and financial support. This information is also rounded out by macro-data on the
structure of families, fertility indicators and the impact of having children on
employment and on child welfare. Family policies can thus be compared in
relation to the context in which they are implemented (Thévenon 2007). The
results of an initial exploitation of this database make it possible to describe the
key differences in terms of support for working parents with young children.
A principal component analysis (PCA) of the OECD data makes it possible to
identify the main similarities and differences in family policies between European
countries (Thévenon 2008). The variables included in the analysis are all
described in Table 1. (Note that Table 1 shows all the data in the analysis but not
all the countries.) Apart from European countries, several other OECD countries
were included: Anglo-Saxon countries (USA, Australia, New Zealand) and Asian
countries (Japan and Korea). Figure 2 represents the countries’ positioning
according to that analysis. The analysis confirms the contrasts highlighted by
previous studies (Gornick et al. 1997; Gauthier 2002; De Hénau et al. 2006). The
more detailed data available in this database make it possible to highlight
heterogeneity within given groups of countries. Some countries exhibit
characteristics that are quite different from their geographical neighbours.
Table 1 :
Family policy characteristics in selected European countries
DE DK ES US FI FR IT HU JP IS NZ NL PL PT UK SW Average
Spending for maternity
and parental leave per
child (in % of GDP per
capita)
22 49 15 n.a. 57 28 20 89 13 50 4 17 30 15 7 64 30
Total length maternity
and parental leave (in
weeks)
170 50 172 12 200 172 57 180 12 26 12 40 172 41 52 66 83
Full-time equivalent
period of maternity
and parental leavea
25.4 46.8 16.0 0.0 42.9 56.2 20.4 69.8 8.4 20.8 6.0 16.0 38.7 17.0 12.0 52.8 27
Full-time eq. period of
paternity leave
0.0 2.0 0.4 0.0 3.0 2.0 0.0 1.0 0.0 10.4 0.0 0.4 2.0 1.0 0.5 9.2 1
Spending on child care
services (% of GDP)
0.8 2.3 0.7 0.6 1.4 1.6 0.7 1.5 0.4 1.8 0.4 0.9 0.5 0.9 0.8 1.9 1
Spending per child on
child care services for
children under 3 (US $
PPP)
3084 8009 1234 1803 4186 4009 2761 n.a. 1252 3408 672 2025 n.a. 1289 1850 5530 2522
Spending per child on
services for preschool
children (US $ PPP)
4865 4824 4151 7755 4069 4744 6116 3985 3766 6781 4325 5497 3269 4489 7153 4091 4614
Coverage rate of child
care services (0-2
years)
9.0 61.7 20.7 35.5 22.4 28.0 6.3 6.9 15.2 58.7 32.1 29.5 2.0 23.5 25.8 39.5 23
Coverage rate of
preschool (3-5 years)
80.3 89.7 98.6 62.0 46.1 100.0 100.0 86.9 86.4 94.7 92.7 70.2 36.2 77.9 80.5 86.6 77
Net child care costs for
dual earner familyb
8.4 7.8 n.a. 19.4 7.2 11.3 n.a. 6.5 14.2 14.9 27.5 11.5 4.6 4.2 32.7 6.2 13
Table continued on the next page
Table 1 (continued)
DE DK ES US FI FR IT HU JP IS NZ NL PL PT UK SW Average
Net child care costs
sole parentb’
6.8 8.5 n.a. 6.2 4.1 8.8 n.a. 0.0 14.0 13.5 14.3 3.0 12.7 2.0 14.4 4.8 12
Benefits and tax breaks
for families (% GDP)
2.19 1.62 0.47 0.76 1.59 2.20 0.59 2.06 0.78 1.51 1.91 1.22 0.99 0.92 2.54 1.59 2
Degree of targeting
support at low income
familiesc
0.9 2.9 2.5 2.8 2.2 1.4 0.0 0.6 5.0 2.4 11.2 1.0 7.4 3.9 2.7 1.7 3
Effective tax rate of a
transition to
employment (jobless
to one-earner couple)d
66 82 47 44 84 63 11 62 66 74 74 71 63 60 74 79 62
Effective tax rate of a
transition to
employment (one-
earner couple to two-
earners)d'
51 57 21 39 37 27 42 42 21 48 37 37 44 23 38 33 35
Effective tax rate for
sole parent transition
to employmente
78 85 52 39 64 75 -4 48 76 74 78 78 75 58 70 66 61
Source: OECD Family Database: www.oecd.org/els/social/family/database
Notes: a. Full-time equivalent is the proportion of the duration of leave if it were paid at 100% of last earnings: FTE = duration of leave in weeks*payment (as a percentage
of average earnings) received by the claimant. Benefits and payment rates applicable as of 1 January 2006.
b. Child care costs are estimated for a dual earner family with two children with full-time earnings of 167% of the average wage in 2004. The first earner is assumed to earn
the average wage and the second two thirds of it. The two children are assumed to be below 3 years old and to be cared for full-time (40 hours per week) (OECD 2007; chart
6.5). In b’ single parents are assumed to have two children under age 3 and to work full-time at 67% of the average wage.
c. Degree of targeting support at low income is estimated by the ratio of proportion of the financial assistance for children received by the families with initial low earnings
(up to 25% of average earnings) to the proportion received by families with two workers at average earnings (i.e. household income equals twice the average wage).
Assistance for children is calculated as the difference between the net income of a single-income couple without children and a single-income couple with two children,
expressed as a percentage of the average worker’s earning (OECD 2007; Table 4.2).
d. The household is supposed to have two children, aged four and six. Here effective tax rate is estimated when one partner is contemplating transitions into full-time work
paid at average rate, the other is supposed to be jobless (OECD 2007; Table 4.3). Neither child care benefits nor the cost of child care are taken into account here. In d’ the
first earner is supposed to move from inactivity to a full-time job paid at the average level, and the second earner is supposed to have full-time earnings equal to 67% of the
average wage (OECD 2007; Table 4.4).
e. Single parent with two children is supposed to move from inactivity to a full-time job paid at 2/3 of the average wave (OECD 2007; Table 4.7).
Family policies in Europe: available databases and initial comparisons
170
Figure 2:
OECD countries according to patterns of family policies
Source: Thévenon (2008).
2.1 The Nordic countries: substantial support for families with
young children
Two distinct groups of countries stand out for the first focus of the PCA: the
Nordic countries, on the right hand side of Figure 2, and the southern European
and Anglo-Saxon countries on the left. That division can be attributed mainly to
differences in the parental leave and child care systems for working parents with
children aged under three. Parental leave in the Nordic countries is longer than in
other countries: 53 weeks at the full-time equivalent of the average wage in
Sweden and 47 weeks in Denmark, compared with only 27 weeks on average for
all OECD countries (Table 1). The disparity can be attributed to a relatively high
compensation in Nordic countries, since the length of leave is limited.
Full-time equivalent leave specifically reserved for fathers is also longer than
in other countries: 13 weeks in Iceland and 11 weeks in Sweden, compared with
Olivier Thévenon 171
an OECD average of only one week. However, paternity leave actually consumed
only represents a tiny fraction of total parental leave, which is almost entirely
taken by women. In all, the spending on leave is much higher in the Nordic
countries, totalling on average 57% of per capita GDP for each child, versus 25%
in the other countries, and only 4.7% in the Anglo-Saxon countries.
The percentage of children in formal child care is also much higher in the
Nordic countries. Roughly half the children aged under three attend formal child
care there, compared with less than one-fifth in the OECD countries as a whole.
The amount invested per child is also much higher: on average $5,758 in
purchasing power parity in the Nordic countries, versus $2,520 for the OECD
average. However, the volume of cash benefits for families is below the average,
and clearly targets low-income families.
The total investment in child care and education for all children aged under
six is higher in the Nordic countries as well, at 1.8% of GDP on average, versus
0.7% in the other countries (and only 0.6% in the Anglo-Saxon and Asian
countries, and 0.7% in southern Europe).
2.2 Denmark: a model of a comprehensive family policy
Denmark and Iceland stand out from the other Nordic countries (Figure 2), and
partly for the same reasons: the percentage of children aged under three in formal
child care is much higher in those two countries (62% in Denmark and 59% in
Iceland). The level of spending on child care services is also higher in Denmark
(2.3% of GDP). The effective tax rate, i.e. the aggregate percentage of tax levied
on earned income, is also much higher in Denmark—and in all Nordic
countries—than in the other countries. That can be seen as the trade-off for the
relatively high level of support granted as paid leave and child care services
aimed at reconciling working and having young children. Denmark is probably
the most developed model based on strong public intervention offering high,
continuous support to enable parents to reconcile work and family. The system
provides relatively high financial security during parental leave. Leave is
relatively short but followed by easy access to formal child care then preschool
and school. Consequently, the fertility rate is among the highest, with a
particularly high (full-time equivalent) female employment rate. A high women’s
workforce participation nevertheless comes at the expense of a pronounced
occupational segregation between men and women (Gilles and Terraz 2008).
2.3 The Anglo-Saxon countries: support targeted on
preschool-age children and poor households
At the opposite end of the spectrum from the Nordic countries, the Anglo-Saxon
countries, Japan, Korea and the southern European countries are in a similar
position to each other, with generally lower support for reconciling work and
Family policies in Europe: available databases and initial comparisons
172
children aged under three. There is little or no compensation during leave after the
birth of a child. The supply of child care and education services is also generally
lower, but there are sharp variations between countries. Public investment is also
clearly targeted on preschool education. Public spending per child aged under
three and attendance at child care facilities are much lower than for children aged
three to six.
However, the Anglo-Saxon countries, plus Switzerland and Japan and Korea,
differ from southern Europe in several respects, as illustrated by the vertical
opposition between these two groups of countries in Figure 2. First, support for
families through family benefits and tax breaks is much higher. It is actually the
main form of intervention in those countries, where such support accounts for
1.9% of GDP, compared with 1.6% for the OECD average (the USA is an
exception, with only 0.8%). This support also clearly targets low-income families
and has an objective of poverty reduction. A little more than one child in four
(28%) nevertheless attend formal child care, often private, compared with an
OECD average of slightly fewer than one in four (23%).
2.4 … and a work/family balance based on labour-market
flexibility
In other words, the Anglo-Saxon countries are characterised by limited public
support for reconciling work and children aged under three. Public investment is
higher for preschool facilities for children aged three and over, usually on a part-
time basis. The main objective is to provide preschool education to ensure equal
opportunity for all children. In this context, the reconciliation of work and family
life is fairly strongly based on the adjustment allowed by labour-market
flexibility, i.e. the ability to change jobs without being unemployed for too long
and especially the increase in part-time employment for women with small
children. The work/family balance is therefore based on strong asymmetry
between the positions of men and women in the labour market and implies that
families with small children forego some income, which is not offset by public
support. Family income is therefore often inadequate and family poverty rates are
among the highest in these countries. Conversely, the adjustment made via the
labour market enables these countries to maintain high fertility rates.
2.5 Southern Europe: more limited assistance
In the other countries, fertility and women’s workforce participation rates are
generally lower. They are especially low in most of southern Europe, where
poverty rates are also higher. These countries are characterised by a ‘deficit’ of
policies, whichever aspect is considered. The volume of cash benefits for families
is very low. Parental leave can be relatively long, but uncompensated or poorly
compensated. Portugal stands out from the rest of this group with slightly shorter
Olivier Thévenon 173
parental leave, more targeted cash benefits for low-income families, and much
higher attendance of children under three in formal child care: 23% in Portugal,
versus less than 7% in Italy and Greece. Spain has almost the same low
attendance at child care services, but much longer, unpaid parental leave.
The other countries, in eastern and central Europe, hold an intermediate
position, except for France and Hungary, where indicators are far higher than
average for all forms of family support. The length of parental leave equivalent to
employment at the average wage there is longer than in most countries in central
and eastern Europe. Above all, cash benefits for children are far less targeted on
low-income families than in the other countries. The investment in child care
services is also significantly higher than average, but attendance among children
under three is much higher in France (29%) than in Hungary (7%).
2.6 Eastern Europe: at the crossroads of diversity?
Compared to the other three eastern European countries (i.e. the Czech Republic,
Poland and Slovakia), Hungary provides more comprehensive support to parents
with a young child through a balanced combination of policy support: parental
leave payment compensation is higher (70 weeks of full-time equivalent against
39 in Poland and 35 in Czech Republic); public spending on child care services is
also higher and their coverage for preschool children is also higher (87% of
children) than in Poland (36%), for example; families are also supported through
relatively generous financial benefits which sum to 2% of GDP compared to only
1% in Poland. However, the poorest families receive a relatively small share of
this support compared to households earning two average wages. Slovakia is also
in a remarkable position with a rather limited period of paid parental leave, while
unpaid leave can be extended to three years. Investments in child care facilities
are also relatively low despite higher coverage rates for children under age 2 than
in other eastern European countries. As in Hungary, the level of family benefits is
relatively high in percentage of GDP but does not appear to target poor families in
particular. Thus, the combination of a long period of unpaid leave and the limited
availability of other types of support make Slovakia comparable to most southern
European countries. However, this situation is still quite specific in a geographical
area where the development of family and child care policies has varied in its
timing and followed different patterns (Szelewa and Polakowski 2008).
3 Conclusion
The development of increasingly detailed databases on family support makes it
possible to access recent information to highlight more precise differences
between countries than those established in the past between different welfare
Family policies in Europe: available databases and initial comparisons
174
systems. In conclusion, it is worth noting some of the main limitations of these
databases for comparing family support:
First, the information available on family support primarily concerns
support for families with children, on which the OECD database concentrates (at
least initially). The period of early childhood is therefore fairly well covered, but
data on support for families with older children are fairly rare and hard to obtain.
However, in the context of an ageing population, in future these databases should
not only cover support for families with children as comprehensively as possible,
but also support for families that have to care for dependent elderly members.
The comparison of policies can also be biased by the fact that local
support is only rarely taken into account, even though it has had a considerable
and growing impact in some countries in recent years.
Similarly, knowledge of support financed by companies is only partial,
even though companies are actors whose importance is more and more broadly
recognised.
Finally, and this may be the biggest problem with the databases on family
policies, the available information concerns only support offered, not policy take-
up, i.e. to what extent the mechanisms are actually used. The difficulty in
estimating the use of parental leave is a good illustration of this problem: while
administrative statistics can be used to estimate the number of people taking
parental leave, it is generally more difficult to estimate the ‘eligible’ population.
However, being able to compare actual policy take-up more effectively is a key to
better assessing their effects on fertility and other behaviour.
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Family policies in Europe: available databases and initial comparisons
176
Appendix: Available databases for the analysis of policies
supporting families and their impact on fertility
To study these differences in policy, several databases are available in addition to
the OECD Family Database presented above. The data can be used to compare
various aspects of family support over different periods, depending on the
reconstituted time series. Some of the databases include socio-demographic
contextual data as well as indicators on support programmes to allow comparisons
of different configurations of family policies, their context and their outcomes.
The EDACwowe website (http://www.edacwowe.eu/), developed by the EU
“Reconciling Work and Welfare in Europe” Network of Excellence, draws on
most of the information sources available at national and international level to
compare employment and welfare systems in Europe. The site lists the sources of
socio-demographic data, information on public opinion, and policies or
institutions that deal with income and benefits, work and employment, care and
living standards. Below is a short description of the main databases available on
family policy.
The website of the Clearinghouse on International Developments in Child,
Youth and Family Policies at Columbia University (http://childpolicyintl.org/)
comprises information on benefits and services for families in 23 industrialised
countries. There are also data on population trends, social indicators, including
child welfare, and information on support for the work/family balance.
Two other databases on family policies have been released by the
Luxembourg Income Study (LIS). One database describes policies to reconcile
work and family as observed in 14 countries in the mid-1980s
(http://www.lisproject.org/publications/fampol/fampolaccess.htm). That database
was used by Janet Gornick, Marcia Meyers and Katherin Ross (1997) to compare
support for working mothers. The other database is an update of the first one to
the early 2000s in 12 countries (covering northern Europe, continental Europe, the
UK, Canada and the USA). It contains much more detailed information about
parental leave, child care attendance and a special module on work-time
legislation. Gornick and Meyers (2003) used these data to compare policies
favouring the work/life balance. The LIS also proposes six waves of harmonised
microdata covering some 30 countries in 2004 on household structure, socio-
economic status, income and income structure (percentage of welfare benefits in
income).
The University of Calgary has also set up a comparative database that
includes information about cash benefits, the associated public spending, parental
leave, and population and employment trends (http://www.soci.ucalgary.ca/FYPP).
The database covers 22 OECD countries and proposes annual time series for the
years 1970 to 2000. Anne Gauthier (2002) used these data to show that, in 2000,
benefits and leave policies were more heterogeneous within a group of countries
than they were in the early 1980s.
Olivier Thévenon 177
The Generations and Gender Programme steered by the United Nations
Economic Commission for Europe also includes the creation of a contextual
database to round out surveys of individuals with a set of detailed information
about the economic and institutional context. The information gathered covers
demographic and economic contexts, the labour market, family policies, including
support for child care or care for elderly dependents, the tax system and the
pension system. More qualitative information on political systems is provided as
well. The advantage of this context database is that it contains detailed
information at regional level, and time series permitting a ‘multi-level’ analysis
(Spielauer 2004). It also gives access to information on eastern European
countries that is otherwise difficult to obtain. However, the number of countries
covered by the database is limited (Bulgaria, Georgia, Hungary, Lithuania,
Poland, Norway, Romania, Russia and France in 2008).
In addition to the information available in these databases, more precise data
on family policy spending are available in the European System of Integrated
Social Protection Statistics database (ESSPROS) coordinated by Eurostat. The
data available can be usefully rounded out with qualitative information on social
protection systems regularly updated by the European Social Protection System in
Member States (MISSOC): http://ec.europa.eu/employment_social/spsi/missoc_en.htm.
Covering the 27 member countries of the European Union, this harmonised base
of welfare accounts provides information about the amounts spent on support for
child care, parental leave and cash benefits for families. The main advantage of
this database is that it offers updated harmonised data, which can be used to
reconstitute time series starting in the early 1980s. However, there are gaps
because some expenditure items are hard to classify and because some types of
family support are left out. In particular, the data on support provided at local—as
opposed to national—level, financial benefits provided through the tax system, or
spending on preschool education are not always complete, and the comparisons
based on them can be skewed (Math and Thévenon, 2008). To round out those
data, the Family Database being developed at the OECD includes estimates of
these items in the set of indicators concerning family support policies.
... Стопа запослености жена старости 25-49 година које имају малу децу, висока је не само у Норвешкој и Шведској, него и у Португалу и у Аустрији. Међутим, у неповољним условима који се карактеришу одређеним специфичностима модела запошљавања и дужине радног времена, али и одустуством адекватне понуде за-посленим родитељима у погледу збрињавања мале деце (Thévenon, 2008), висока запосленост жена представља ограничење у погледу репродуктивног понашања. У Аустрији је снажно изражена родна асиметрија унутар породице, а коришћење сервиса за бригу о деци, као кључна подршка запосленим женама, постало је раширеније тек последњих десетак година (Buber, 2015). ...
... The employment rate of women aged 25-49 with young children is high not only in Norway and Sweden, but also in Portugal and Austria. However, in unfavorable conditions characterized by certain specificities of the employment model and length of working time, as well as by the absence of adequate childcare options for employed parents (Thévenon, 2008), high female employment is a limiting factor in terms of reproductive behavior. In Austria, gender asymmetry within the family is strongly expressed, and the use of childcare services as a key support for employed women has become more widespread in the last ten years (Buber, 2015). ...
... ion of Parenthood and Paid Work as a Part of PoliciesRelated to Low Fertility. Politička revija vol LII (2), 121-136 [In Serbian] Testa R. M. (2014). On the positive correlation between education and fertility intentions in Europe: Individual and country level evidence. Advance in Life Course Research vol. 21, 28-42, doi: 10.1016/j.alcr.2014.01.005Thévenon, O. (2008). Family policies in Europe: available databases and initial compa- risons. Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, pp. 165-177. doi: 10.1553/popula- tionyearbook2008s165Thévenon, O. (2016). The influence of family policies on fertility in France: Lessons from the past and prospects for the future. In: R.R Rindfuss, & M. K. Choe (eds.) L ...
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Abstract: The main question of this text is whether the change of traditional division of gender roles is really a factor that would make birth rate in Serbia closer to the level needed for population replenishment. A connection between gender models and fertility rate in European countries, which are characterized with different gender regimes, is discussed according to relevant demographic literature and statistical data. Likewise, the findings of conducted research studies in Serbia are the basis for consideration of gender models within family and gender aspects of parenthood as factors of childbearing decision. The specificities of economic development and widespread cultural norms determine the relation and influence of gender roles on fertility. The answer to the question that directed this text is discernable within this framework. Keywords: low fertility, gender roles, social development, Europe, Serbia Сажетак: Централно питање овог рада јесте да ли промена традиционалне поде- ле родних улога заиста јесте фактор који би стопе рађања у Србији приближио нивоу потребном за просту репродукцију. Веза између родних модела и стопа фертилитета у европским државама које се одликују различитим родним режимима дискутује се на основу релевантне демографске литературе и статистичких података. Такође, резултати реализованих истраживања у Србији су основа за разматрање родних модела унутар породице и родног аспекта родитељства као фактора одлучивања о рађању. Специфичности економског развоја и распрострањене културне норме о родним улогама, детерминишу везу и утицај родног односа на висину фертилитета. У тим оквирима се назире и одговор на питање које је усмерило овај рад. Кључне речи: низак фертилитет, родне улоге, друштвени развој, Европа, Србија
... One should compare the results of similar studies conducted at different timeframes as the world has been changing drastically. The demographic changes, the decrease of fertility has led developed countries to take several measures to facilitate a better balance between work and family [79]. As a result of the measures taken, an increase of participation of women in legislation [80], in management [81], in IT workforce [82],and other areas [83] is observed. ...
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Transition from primary to secondary school is more successful when students’ learning is consistent. Students are also more likely to enjoy the school, engage with learning, and have a high academic achievement in the secondary school when they feel motivated. This is a critical aspect especially in cases when global pandemics situations allow only the online schooling opportunity. Students that are away from school lack the traditional sources of motivation and self-regulated learning skills, thus research is needed to identify other important factors that can be developed in remote settings. The aim of this study was to find out how students perceive their experience with the transition from primary to secondary school and how such a transition influences students’ self-regulated learning (SRL) and motivation. Self-reported data were collected during the COVID-19 breakout from a total of N=80, 6th and 7th grade students aged 12-14 years old. Results showed that students had a successful transition, especially when they are supported by their parents and teachers. Next, Bivariate Pearson Correlation analysis indicated that students’ perceptions about their experience with the transition from primary to secondary school and their self-regulated learning and motivation are significantly correlated. No gender differences were found among all main study variables.
... In response to the unprecedented rise in women's educational and labour market participation and the associated rise in the share of dual-earner couples in recent decades, governments have increasingly developed social policies geared towards reconciling work and family life (Thévenon 2008). The so-called gender revolution is incomplete, however, as the increase in female labour force participation is not (yet) mirrored by an equivalent shift towards higher involvement of men in household work and child-rearing tasks ( Goldscheider et al. 2015;McDonald 2000). ...
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The limited increase in fathers’ involvement in childcare tasks in response to the unprecedented rise in female labour market participation illustrates the incomplete nature of the gender revolution. Available research provides evidence for micro-economic mechanisms and the influence of gender norms and social policy design on couples’ gendered divisions of parental leave, but knowledge on how national level contexts shape partners’ agency remains limited. Hence, comparative research from different national contexts is needed. This paper examines the association between fathers’ pre-birth income and workplace characteristics, and whether they take up parental leave after the birth of their first child in Belgium and Sweden by using detailed longitudinal register data from Sweden and Belgium. Results show that, whereas an opportunity cost logic seems to underlie fathers’ parental leave decisions in Belgium, gender equality in contributing to the household income yields the highest probability of fathers’ parental leave uptake in Sweden. Furthermore, in Sweden, fathers’ employment characteristics are more strongly associated with whether fathers’ take leave longer than the quota than whether fathers take any leave at all. The different mechanisms in Belgium and Sweden suggest that the design of leave policies and the broader normative and institutional national level context moderate couples’ parental leave uptake decisions.
... 14 In conservative regimes, the situa tion is the opposite: Cash and tax benefits for families with children are high, with medium levels of public support for paid parental leave and child care services, with child care services for children under 3 years of age being poorly supported. 8,15 Engster and Stensöta 8 conclude that so-called low family support regimes are characterized by overall low levels of family support. It means that the family cash and tax benefits are rather low, there is low-to-medium support for parental leave, and child care support is also rather modest. ...
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Introduction: Children are influenced by different environments – home, friends, school, community, society, and the existence and availability of various services – and child well-being is the outcome of the interrelationships between the child and these environments. The military is one of the environments that shapes the well-being of children in military families, and the environments interact with each other. Methods: Our main assumption is that the effect of military environment on child well-being may vary in different societies depending on the general social security system. We describe how the military children’s well-being is embedded in military systems, which in turn is embedded in welfare state. The main question is how the well-being of children from military families varies across countries and how much variation can be explained by the interplay between military systems and different welfare regimes. Results: We begin by describing the differences in welfare states and military systems, and then give a short overview of children’s well-being in the context of different welfare regimes (e.g., availability of public child care, health care, and access to education and extracurricular activities). Discussion: Next, we look at the interplay between the military and welfare regimes and, finally, we show how the well-being of military children is supported across countries by their different welfare regimes.
... In response to declining fertility levels and an increasing female labour supply, Western European governments have continuously extended family policies geared towards the reconciliation of work and family such as formal childcare (Rindfuss and Brewster 1996;Thevenon 2008). Despite indications of higher fertility for women with high socio-economic positions in contexts with extensive work-family reconciliation policies (Matysiak and Vignoli 2008;Puur et al. 2016;Wood et al. 2014), empirical evidence on the effect of such policies remains inconclusive (Gauthier 2007;Neyer and Andersson 2008). ...
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The theoretically well-grounded hypothesis that the availability of formal childcare has a positive impact on childbearing in the developed world has been part of the population literature for a long time. Whereas the participation of women in the labour force created a tension between work and family life, the increasing availability of formal childcare in many developed countries is assumed to reconcile these two life domains due to lower opportunity costs and compatible mother and worker roles. However, previous empirical studies on the association between childcare availability and fertility exhibit ambiguous results and considerable variation in the methods applied. This study assesses the childcare–fertility hypothesis for Belgium, a consistently top-ranked country concerning formal childcare coverage that also exhibits considerable variation within the country. Using detailed longitudinal census and register data for the 2000s combined with childcare coverage rates for 588 municipalities and allowing for the endogenous nature of formal childcare and selective migration, our findings indicate clear and substantial positive effects of local formal childcare provision on birth hazards, especially when considering the transition to parenthood. In addition, this article quantifies the impact of local formal childcare availability on fertility at the aggregate level and shows that in the context of low and lowest-low fertility levels in the developed world, the continued extension of formal childcare services can be a fruitful tool to stimulate childbearing among dual-earner couples.
... 5 The clusters correspond to different family regimes and levels of women's labour force participation (Engelhardt et al. 2004), and largely reflect a grouping adopted by several other scholars investigating fertility levels in Europe (Frejka and Sardon 2004;Goldstein et al. 2009;Wilson 2013); with the exception of the UK, which is considered together with the Northern European countries. Northern European countries support the dual-earner family and the combining of work and family (Thévenon 2008), and are characterised by favourable attitudes towards working mothers (Korpi 2000) and high levels of commitment to gender equality (Duvander et al. 2010). Western European countries are characterised by attitudes that view women as supplementary income providers, and that emphasise women's roles as care-takers. ...
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Unlike achieved fertility, fertility intentions are often positively correlated with education. However, the conditions under which such a positive relationship exists are not yet well known. Using 86 pieces of research covering 13 European countries that were published between 1990 and 2011, we assess in a quantitative manner the temporal and cross-country variation in the relationship between educational attainment and reproductive intentions. Because of the sequential nature of reproductive decisions and the gendered nature of each individual's life course, we look separately at childless women and women with one child, and compare women with men. Our findings show that both first and second birth intentions and educational attainment are positively correlated, but that this relationship - which is stronger for men than for women - tends to disappear when the normative value of a two-child family is reached. Structural labour market characteristics explain a good portion of the cross-country variance: the educational slope of first and second birth intentions is steeper in countries with large shares of women in vulnerable employment situations or in part-time employment, and is flatter in countries with gender-equal labour force participation and large shares of women in highly qualified employment.
... Family issues have risen on the policy agenda (Gauthier 1996). Yet despite some policy convergence in response to shared functional pressures, large discrepancies remain (Gauthier 2002;Thévenon 2008). And while numerous studies have addressed the question of which governments enact ECFP (e.g., Lambert 2008;Kittilson 2008;Kamerman and Moss 2009), less is known about why governments reform. ...
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Employment-centered family policies enable parents to combine work and family, thereby improving work–life balance for individuals and families as well as increasing GDP. For these reasons, these policies constitute a central component of the social investment approach, a model for how to design social policies for contemporary societies. This study seeks to understand whether voters enable the expansion of these policies and therein promote social investment. The literature suggests that voters may reward governments that expand such policies for reducing work–life tensions at a relatively low cost. Yet support may wane if voters oppose mothers’ employment or face few opportunities to take up such policies (e.g., due to barriers to labor market entry). Left parties are found to gain from expanding day care but lose votes for expanding leave schemes, a finding which partially explains the vote losses for leave expansion before the activation turn. Generous day care and leave schemes in the social democratic regime entail an electoral logic, whereby governments escape vote losses for the expansion of leave schemes and gain from expanding day care. The remaining results do not reach statistical significance and should be interpreted with care.
... In response to declining fertility levels and rising female labour for participation, Western European governments have increasingly developed family policies geared towards the reconciliation of labour force participation and family formation Thevenon, 2008). In addition to family policies such as family allowances established earlier, the availability of formal childcare and parental leave schemes has increased considerably since the 1980s (Klusener, Neels, & Kreyenfeld, 2013;RVA, 2012RVA, , 2013. ...
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This volume provides new insights into the determinants of the gender division of work and migrant-native differentials in labour force attachment over the process of family formation. The first paper adopts a European comparative cross-sectional perspective investigating how life course stage, national context and individual characteristics influence the gender division of housework. Given the limitations of a cross-sectional approach, the subsequent three papers use Belgian longitudinal data to assess the gender division of paid work and migrant-native differences in mothers’ employment and parental leave use following the transition to parenthood. Results demonstrate that parents of young children better succeed in converting their progressive gender ideas into a gender equal division of housework in more progressive gender contexts. With regard to mothers’ employment and parental leave use, results show that socio-economic differences between women of migrant origin and natives are reproduced and accentuated over the transition to parenthood. This volume is of interest to family, gender and labour sociologists, social demographers, migration researchers, policy makers and anyone interested in work-family trajectories following the transition to parenthood.
... In response to declining fertility levels and rising female labour force participation, Western European governments have increasingly developed family policies geared towards the reconciliation of labour force participation and family formation (Rindfuss et al., 1996;Thévenon, 2008). In addition to family policies such as family allowances established earlier, the availability of formal childcare and parental leave schemes has increased considerably since the 1980s (Klusener et al., 2013;RVA, 2012;RVA, 2013). ...
Article
Family policies such as parental leave schemes increasingly support the work–family balance. Low maternal employment in migrant populations raises questions on family policy uptake among mothers of migrant origin. This study documents differences in parental leave uptake between native and migrant mothers of different origin groups and generations, and assesses the extent to which precarious employment trajectories can account for these differentials. Using longitudinal data from Belgian social security registers, mixed-effects logit models of leave uptake, full-time or part-time leave uptake and the labour market position following leave are estimated for 10,976 mothers who entered parenthood between 2004 and 2010. Results indicate that uptake of parental leave is lower among mothers of migrant origin, since they fail to meet the eligibility criteria as a result of being overrepresented in unstable labour market positions. Whereas differential leave uptake can be accounted for by non-universal eligibility and precarious labour market trajectories, migrant-native differentials in part-time uptake and labour market positions following leave persist when controlling for pre-birth employment characteristics. The differential pattern of leave uptake among first-generation migrant women, in particular, is not explained by pre-birth employment characteristics, as they remain overrepresented in full-time leave, and first-generation mothers of non-European origin more frequently retreat from the labour force following leave. We conclude that difficult access to stable employment and non-universal eligibility are major factors explaining migrant-native differentials in parental leave use. As such, Belgian parental leave policies perpetuate labour market disadvantages by limiting support for work–family reconciliation to those already established in the labour force.
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Este trabajo tiene como objetivo comparar la brecha entre los valores de género y la práctica doméstica en el Reino Unido y España. Los datos se obtuvieron de una muestra de encuestados británicos y españoles, hombres y mu­jeres, en el módulo “Familia y cambio de roles de género” del Programa Internacional de Encuestas Sociales (ISSP 2002; 2012) y se utilizaron para crear modelos multivari­antes utilizando técnicas de regresión de mínimos cuadra­dos ordinarios. Los hallazgos sugieren que los valores de género afectan a las prácticas domésticas. Sin embargo, este efecto no se observó para el cuidado. Se encontró que el impacto de los valores de género en la división por sexo de las tareas domésticas era similar en el Reino Unido y España. También se observó un movimiento gradual ha­cia ideales más igualitarios en ambos países durante el período de 10 años estudiado.
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ANALYSE Réduire la segmentation hommes/femmes du marché du travail en Europe : quels leviers d'action ? En Europe, l'augmentation des taux d'emploi féminin ne s'est pas accompagnée sur la pér ode i récente d'une plus grande égalité professionnelle entre les sexes, en matière notamment de professions occupées et de salaires. Le conflit d'objectifs qui semble s'être dessiné entre autonomie des femmes par l'emploi et égalité des sexes par la mixité est–il provisoire ou durable ? Pour interroger la conciliation éventuelle de ces deux finalités, cette note examine les déterminants de la segmentation hommes/femmes sur le marché du travail. Dans son dernier rapport sur l'égalité entre les femmes et les hommes 1 , la Commission européenne rappelle les progrès quantitatifs effectués en matière d'emploi féminin dans les pays de l'UE-27 tout en soulignant l'inertie dans le temps des écarts salariaux entre les deux sexes, la relative stabilité de la segmentation professionnelle et sectorielle et enfin la persistance des inégalités d'accès à l'emploi, notamment à temps plein, dans un contexte global d'amélioration du niveau d'éducation des femmes. Dans une précédente analyse 2 , nous avions souligné l'existence possible d'un conflit d'objectifs entre l'augmentation des taux d'emploi féminin et la réduction de la segmentation sectorielle et professionnelle selon le sexe en Europe. En effet, le développement des activités de services et le recours croissant des femmes à l'emploi à temps partiel contribuent, toutes choses égales par ailleurs, à polariser selon le genre les différents segments du marché du travail. À cet égard, sur la période 2000-2006, il apparaît que la segmentation s'accroît dans les pays du sud de l'Europe, où les taux d'emploi féminin ont sensiblement augmenté. Cette note se propose d'éclairer certains de ces constats en tentant de répondre aux questions suivantes :-En quoi les structures de l'emploi d'une économie influent-elles sur le niveau de segmentation du marché du travail ?-L'inclusion dans l'emploi des personnes les moins qualifiées, principale réserve de main-d'oeuvre en Europe, pour laquelle les inégalités entre les sexes sont les plus fortes, contribue-t-elle à segmenter davantage le marché du travail ?-Enfin, quelle est l'incidence de la parentalité sur la segmentation professionnelle ? 1 Rapport 2008 de la Commission au Conseil, au Parlement européen, au Comité économique et social européen et au comité des régions, L'égalité entre les femmes et les hommes. 2 Gilles C. (2007), « Réduire la segmentation du marché du travail selon le genre et accroître les taux d'emploi féminin : à court terme, est-ce compatible ? », La Note de veille n° 72, 10 septembre 2007, Centre d'analyse stratégique.
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Parents around the world grapple with the common challenge of balancing work and child care. Despite common problems, the industrialized nations have developed dramatically different social and labor market policies-policies that vary widely in the level of support they provide for parents and the extent to which they encourage an equal division of labor between parents as they balance work and care. In Families That Work, Janet Gornick and Marcia Meyers take a close look at the work-family policies in the United States and abroad and call for a new and expanded role for the U.S. government in order to bring this country up to the standards taken for granted in many other Western nations. In many countries in Europe and in Canada, family leave policies grant parents paid time off to care for their young children, and labor market regulations go a long way toward ensuring that work does not overwhelm family obligations. In addition, early childhood education and care programs guarantee access to high-quality care for their children. In most of these countries, policies encourage gender equality by strengthening mother's ties to employment and encouraging fathers to spend more time caregiving at home. In sharp contrast, Gornick and Meyers show how in the United States-an economy with high labor force participation among both fathers and mothers-parents are left to craft private solutions to the society-wide dilemma of "who will care for the children?" Parents-overwhelmingly mothers-must loosen their ties to the workplace to care for their children; workers are forced to negotiate with their employers, often unsuccessfully, for family leave and reduced work schedules; and parents must purchase care of dubious quality, at high prices, from consumer markets. By leaving child care solutions up to hard-pressed working parents, these private solutions exact a high price in terms of gender inequality in the workplace and at home, family stress and economic insecurity, and-not least-child well-being. Gornick and Meyers show that it is possible-based on the experiences of other countries-to enhance child well-being and to increase gender equality by promoting more extensive and egalitarian family leave, work-time, and child care policies. Families That Work demonstrates convincingly that the United States has much to learn from policies in Europe and in Canada, and that the often-repeated claim that the United States is simply "too different" to draw lessons from other countries is based largely on misperceptions about policies in other countries and about the possibility of policy expansion in the United States.
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La variété des relations entre activité des femmes et composition des familles au niveau international a pour origine les formes de régulation variable des relations emploi-famille. Cet article propose une analyse de cette régulation permettant de relire la distinction des régimes d'État-Social d'Esping-Andersen en identifiant le compromis qui sous-tend cette régulation dans chacun des régimes. Cette pluralité de compromis impliquent différents modes de coordination entre la participation des femmes à l'emploi et le processus de constitution de la famille. Cette analyse permet alors de contraster des formes d'articulation variables entre politiques familiales, sociales et d'emploi et fait apparaître des modes d'expression variable des inégalités hommes-femmes sur le marché du travail. Le cas de la France est présenté comme un compromis particulier et fragile entre ces ‘idéaux-types'.
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Introduction In most European countries welfare states developed after World War II. Until 1960 most countries developing a welfare state were led by the idea that families would be provided for by their male heads, and therefore the design of social security schemes was based on a household-with-breadwinner perspective. Since the 1970s, however, labour force participation rates for women have risen in some European countries, especially in the 1980s and 1990s. In addition, mothers increasingly have combined paid work and motherhood, even when children were still very young. Today, women's greater investment in education has resulted in their having equal levels of initial training. Although there are differences in men's participation rates across countries, the differences in women's participation rates are more significant, especially after children are born into the family. Women with a similar level of education behave differently in terms of both the age at which they choose to give birth to children and their labour force participation after childbirth. Moreover, the types of jobs women have vary considerably across welfare states. In order to understand welfare states and the difference between welfare states across Europe, social scientists began to classify countries according to various welfare criteria. Typologies can be used for different purposes and can focus on variables related to causes, institutions and/or outcomes. The most influential attempt to create a welfare state typology has been that of Esping-Andersen (1990).
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This article compares 14 OECD countries, as of the middle-to-late 1980s, with respect to their provision of policies that support mothers' employment: parental leave, child care, and the scheduling of public education. Newly gathered data on 18 policy indicators are presented. The indicators are then standardized, weighted, and summed into indices. By differentiating policies that affect maternal employment from family policies more generally, these indices reveal dramatic cross-national differences in policy provisions. The empirical results reveal loose clusters of countries that correspond only partially to prevailing welfare-state typologies. For mothers with preschool-aged children, only five of the 14 countries provided reasonably complete and continuous benefits that supported their options for combining paid work with family responsibilities. The pattern of cross-national policy variation changed notably when policies affecting mothers with older children were examined. The indices provide an improved measure of public support for maternal employment. They are also useful for contrasting family benefits that are provided through direct cash transfers with those that take the form of support for mothers' employment. Finally, these policy findings contribute to the body of scholarship that seeks to integrate gender issues more explicitly into research on welfare-state regimes.
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This article compares childcare provisions in the new member countries of the EU. It takes into account two pillars of childcare policy: publicly provided childcare services and parental leave provisions. In the analysis, the fuzzy set ideal types approach is utilized. In contrast to the studies conducted so far, this article stops treating the region of Cental and Eastern Europe as a monolith and demonstrates the existence of cross-country variation of childcare policies within the region. Furthermore, the difference is systematized by identifying four clusters of childcare policy. These are : explicit familialism, implicit familialism, female mobilizing and comprehensive support types. The countries are clustered as follows: the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia in the explicit familism policy model; Estonia and Latvia in the female mobilizing type policy; Lithuania and Hungary pursuing the childcare policies typical of the comprehensive support model; and finally the childcare policy in Poland resembles characteristics of the implicit familism model.
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This paper compares EU-15 members' public policies to help women have children while pursuing a career: public childcare, maternity/paternity leave, childcare benefits. Parental leave is assessed from a very critical stance. Based on existing theoretical and empirical findings on the effects of child policies on female employment and on previously built indicators summarizing quantitative and qualitative early childhood data (2003), the paper (1) assesses countries' relative positions in each of the policy fields; (2) draws up a new country typology by showing which type of policy is most promoted and whether countries choose either one policy or sequentially/simultaneously implement a bundle of policies. Results suggest three groups of countries.
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This article examines the trends in family policies in 22 industrialized countries since 1970. Based on time-series of indicators of cash benefits and support for working parents, it examines the hypothesis of convergence in national family policies. Results suggest that although all countries have increased their support for families since 1970, and all countries have adapted their policies to reflect the new demographic and economic realities of families, there has been no cross-national convergence. Results even suggest a divergence as captured by the growing cross-national dispersion of the family policy indicators. Results are thus in line with other studies of welfare states which have concluded that cross-national differences persist in spite of global macro-level factors.
Book
The Golden Age of postwar capitalism has been eclipsed, and with it seemingly also the possibility of harmonizing equality and welfare with efficiency and jobs. Most analyses believe the the emerging postindustrial society is overdetermined by massive, convergent forces, such as tertiarization, new technologies, or globalization, all conspiring to make welfare states unsustainable in the future. Social Foundations of Postindustrial Economies takes a second, more sociological and more institutional, look at the driving forces of economic transformation. What, as a result, stands out is postindustrial diversity, not convergence. Macroscopic, global trends are undoubtedly powerful, yet their influence is easily rivalled by domestic institutional traditions, by the kind of welfare regime that, some generations ago, was put in place. It is, however, especially the family economy that hold the key as to what kind of postindustrial model will emerge, and to how evolving tradeoffs will be managed. Twentieth-century economic analysis depended on a set of sociological assumptions that, now, are invalid. Hence, to better grasp what drives today's economy, we must begin with its social foundations. Available in OSO: http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/oso/public/content/politicalscience/0198742002/toc.html
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This article examines current family policies in Western Europe against the backdrop of fertility decline in Europe. Its objective is to depict the nature of family policies from a cross-national perspective in order to illuminate potential relationships between them and demographic patterns. The article concentrates on those family policies that constitute the core of welfare-state policies related to childbearing and the rearing of children: Maternity policies, parental-leave policies, childcare services, and child benefits.