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Add to Cart Add to Cart. Add to Wishlist Add to Wishlist. More Political. Resource Economics John C. To sum up, in the s and the s political and socio-economic factors were highly significant in explaining the different family policy approaches in rich OECD countries; however, developments during the s confirm Carter's argument, whereby the future of welfare states seem to be more dependent on public opinion and less influenced by traditional political ideologies of political parties or other organised groups.
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One of the most important findings of our analysis is that in an era of perceived permanent austerity Pierson and overall welfare state retrenchment Korpi and Palme , rich OECD countries have not been prevented from expanding family policies. Au contraire! In many countries, we are witnessing the expansion of family policy, leading to a socialisation of family care responsibilities, traditionally disproportionately performed by women Daly and Lewis The policy shift has been particularly significant in countries that had previously emphasised more conservative approaches to family policies, such as Germany, Ireland, Japan, and Norway.
Hence, it can no longer be assumed that in the majority of rich OECD countries care for young children will be mainly provided through unpaid work within the family Mahon , Nevertheless, a certain number of countries still fail to provide adequate childcare arrangements, constituting a barrier for full-time maternal employment Hegewisch and Gornick , Furthermore, in some countries, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, gender discrimination continues to strongly intersect with class Mandel and Shalev ; high childcare costs constitute a disincentive to labour force participation, especially among less educated and unskilled women Esping-Andersen This means that higher-class and more educated women tend to have better opportunities than women belonging to a lower social class Evertsson et al.
Our analysis clearly confirms partisanship and women's political agency as the main drivers for family policy change during the s and s cf. Iversen and Stephens For the s, however, the importance of these drivers has significantly declined. As societal preferences have undergone profound changes—to some extent driven by the activities of women's equality movements as well as by the experience of women's employment—the policy preferences of voters have also changed. As political parties react to these changed policy preferences, the traditional differences in family policy positions between political parties decline.
However, we want to emphasise that societal policy preferences, for too long believed to be set in stone, are undergoing profound changes; public opinion increasingly matters for changing policies. The changed policy preferences are also mirrored in new political discourses that prioritise social investment and the preservation of the human capital of women, especially of those who are highly skilled Knijn and Smit ; Mahon ; Morel, Palier, and Palme ; for a critical assessment of the literature see Nolan The expansion of family policies geared to supporting women's employment and investment in children is very likely to continue.
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Oxford Institute of. Oxford Academic. Google Scholar. Martin Seeleib-Kaiser. Cite Citation. Permissions Icon Permissions. Abstract This paper contributes to the comparative social policy literature in two ways. View large Download slide. Source : Author's elaboration. View Large. Correlations predicting family policy generosity from the independent variables, s. Source: Authors' elaboration.
Table A1. ISSP , We thank Mark Tomlinson for his crucial input in developing the MCA used in this paper and Mary Daly, Ann Orloff, and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments of earlier drafts. For a review, see Hegewisch and Gornick Furthermore, Morgan suggested that governments in Western Europe often promote family policy expansion to increase fertility rates and improve economic efficiency rather than gender equality. On the contested and multivalent character of family policy, see Fink and Lundquist Political actors are likely to follow different orientations in the broad field of family policy, and even within a common political orientation, policies may have conflicting effects.
Conservative political forces have often championed such long leaves as part of their efforts to win over women voters Morel, Palier, and Palme ; Morgan , , , , ; Morgan and Zippel Gender analyses of the welfare state have greatly contributed to a better understanding of family policy Daly and Rake ; Lewis ; Sainsbury and welfare regime theory Ciccia and Verloo ; Korpi ; Lewis ; Mahon ; Orloff ; Sainsbury Iceland is the closest case, see Ciccia and Verloo Our analysis also builds on the conceptualization introduced by Lewis whereby family policy can best be understood as a cross-cutting policy area.
Mahon and Jenson have highlighted the role that international organizations, such as the OECD and the EU, have played in identifying family policies as central to the strategy of achieving higher employment rates, countering demographic trends, contributing to social cohesion and gender equality. Although these developments at the international level have certainly contributed to the diffusion of new ideas, it seems very difficult to model these exogenous factors and we have therefore limited our analysis to domestic determinants.
Previous quantitative research only accounts for family policy developments until the early s Ferrarini ; Lambert ; Montanari See Appendix Table A1 for the description of all variables. In contrast to much of the welfare state literature i. Huber and Stephens , we do not rely on multiple regression MR or time series cross sectional TSCS analyses to explain the variation of family policy.
Although more sophisticated than simple correlations, MR and TSCS analyses present some conceptual problems in relation to comparative analysis Shalev This section draws heavily on Ferragina, Seeleib-Kaiser and Tomlinson In our case there are four variables but we use a simplified example with three variables to illustrate the technicalities of MCA. For a review of welfare regimes literature, see Ferragina and Seeleib-Kaiser For instance in Sweden families are entitled to days of leave that can be shared between parents, and that can be taken on a full-time or part-time basis until the child is 8 years old.
This scheme is called parental leave, but is similar to the concept of a childcare leave Gauthier , 2—3. See Ferrarini for an analysis that distinguishes these types of leaves and the implications for gender equality. Hence, we can only identify general trends and associations, rather than provide robust causal explanations including the size of the effects. More specifically, we have correlated the variation of political and socio-economic variables over five years ten years and family policy change over the same period of time lagged by one year.
Unfortunately we have only data for the s and s for these last two indicators. This variable is only a proxy; for a qualitative study of the influence of employers on family policy in Britain and Germany, see Fleckenstein and Seeleib-Kaiser We have also run alternative models by using different variables to capture the influence of political parties, i. Unfortunately, we can only include this variable into our models for the s and the s, due to a lack of data availability for a large number of countries during the earlier period.
For a detailed description of the policy change in parental leaves across the countries analysed, see Moss Although maternity leaves in the United Kingdom have been extended during the New Labour governments, there have been only marginal changes with regard to paternity and parental leaves and the replacement rates continue to be rather low Daly Furthermore, our model does not consider the potentially significant changes resulting from the expansion of tax credits for these, see Bradshaw Fleckenstein and Lee show the existence of a correlation between these two variables for a selected group of countries Britain, Germany, South Korea, and Sweden.
This means, for example, that the effect of family policy change on mother's employment and earnings is not universal, but it is mediated by different cultural contexts.
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