The politics of family policy: socioeconomic changes and political institutions across countries and time
Sprache des Vortragstitels:
2019 ECPR General Conference
Sprache des Tagungstitel:
Social policy and its institutions have been changing considerably over the past decades, especially in family policy. Reforms have, for example, expanded public childcare and parental leave programmes. Due to socioeconomic changes there is an obvious need for social policy recalibration, yet the degree of reforms and changes as well as outcomes might depend on political actors and institutions. However, we lack knowledge to what extent national political factors moderate the effect of socioeconomic changes on family policy reforms.
The literature so far has explained changes in family policy either with similarity across countries arising from similar socioeconomic changes (e.g. ageing and higher female labour force participation) or with diversity because of national institutions (e.g. veto players and partisanship). This paper aims to investigate both the effect of socioeconomic changes on recent family policy changes and the moderating role of national political institutions and actors.
Furthermore, we lack up-to-date analyses for family policy measures for many countries for a long time period. The paper uses innovative measures for three different family policy instruments: public childcare provision, leave benefits and family allowances. Our models covering 27 countries for the years 1991-2015 show that, in terms of socio-economic factors demographic pressure is not related to family policy expenses between and within countries, but women employment rates matter for childcare and leave expenses; regarding political factors, the partisan matters hypothesis only applies to right as well as centre parties, but not left parties.