Stream 13

Who Benefits most from Family Policies?

Stream convenors:
Family policies have received ample attention in the (comparative) study of welfare state outcomes. Literature reviews show a reasonable consensus on family policy outcomes (e.g. Thévenon & Solaz, 2014) with respect to work-family reconciliation policies such as paid leave and public childcare services being associated with higher maternal employment, as well as with respect to financial support policies such as family allowances and tax benefits to families with children representing a disincentive to maternal employment. At the same time, financial support policies provide strong buffers against the risk of living in poverty, while some leave policies (notably home care allowances) have a negative impact on maternal employment.

The attention now seems to turn to the question whether these family policy outcomes are homogenous across the population, or varies across people with different social backgrounds. Examples of such studies show that uptake of public childcare is biased against lower educated parents (Ghysels & Van Lancker, 2011), and that both paid leave and family allowances reduce poverty more strongly among single-parent families compared to twoparent families (Maldonado & Nieuwenhuis, 2015). Moreover, studies drawing on natural experiments tend to yield more nuanced results in terms of maternal employment gains compared with regression-based approaches, showing that employment gains may differ for people with different social backgrounds as well.

This stream seeks to bring together theory-driven, empirical studies on the question who benefits most from family policies, focusing on hitherto understudied issues, with the aim to explore new avenues in family policy research.

Examples of possible contributions include, but are not limited to:
We welcome comparative papers as well as case studies, preferably using quantitative approaches to these questions.

⟨ List of Stream Themes