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Does family policy influence women’s employment?: Reviewing the evidence in the field

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Ferragina, E.
Publication Date: 
21 Aug 2017

Excerpted from Abstract

 During the past two decades, the debate over the relation between family policy and women’s employment in high-income countries has grown in prominence. Nevertheless, the evidence proposed in different disciplines – sociology, politics, economics and demography – remains scattered and fragmented. This article addresses this gap, discussing whether family policy regimes are converging and how different policies influence women’s employment outcomes in high-income countries. The main findings can be summarized as follows: family policy regimes (‘Primary Caregiver Strategy’, ‘Choice Strategy’, ‘Primary Earner Strategy’, ‘Earning Carer Strategy’, ‘Mediterranean Model’) continues to shape women’s employment outcomes despite some process of convergence towards the Earning Carer Strategy; the shortage of childcare and the absence of maternal leave curtail women’s employment; long parental leave seems to put a brake to women’s employment; unconditional child benefits and joint couple’s taxation negatively influence women’s employment but support horizontal redistribution; policies and collective attitudes interact, influencing women’s behaviour in the labour market; and the effect of policies is moderated/magnified by individual socioeconomic characteristics, that is, skills, class, education, income, ethnicity and marital status. The article concludes by suggesting avenues for future research.