Handbook of Family Policy
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Handbook of Family Policy

Edited by Guðný B. Eydal and Tine Rostgaard

The Handbook of Family Policy examines how state and workplace policies support parents and their children in developing, earning and caring. With original contributions from 44 leading scholars, this Handbook provides readers with up-to-date knowledge on family policies and family policy research, taking stock of current literature as well as providing analyses of present-day policies, and where they should head in the future.
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Chapter 6: Family policy changes across welfare and production regimes, 1990 to 2010

Ji Young Kang and Marcia K. Meyers

Abstract

Kang and Meyers in this chapter examine change in family policies that support parents, and particularly mothers, in their dual responsibilities as earners and caregivers in the home over a 20-year period in 14 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. The authors begin by developing an integrated framework of welfare and production regime types that captures the interaction of markets and the state in distinctive family policy approaches. They further argue that taking market economies into account in family policy enriches our understanding of variations of family policy across countries. Second, using this proposed framework, Kang and Meyers examine specific changes of family policies in welfare/production regime clusters as well as those for individual countries within the clusters and find different patterns of family policy change across countries. Nearly all of the 14 countries expanded policies that support work/family balance and those that create incentives to degender caregiving. However, the authors observe much less expansion in benefits to protect family income and find evidence that many countries’ reduced policy efforts are likely to reinforce traditional gender roles. Furthermore, using the integrated framework reveals the distinctive trajectories of change of family policies among three welfare/production regimes that reflected existing institutional and political realities. The general policy approach of each cluster remained distinctive over time although there is some evidence of convergence, particularly in the CME countries (coordinated market economies).

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