Swedish parental leave and gender equality - Achievements and reform challenges in a European perspective
AbstractSweden was the first country to introduce paid parental leave also to fathers in 1974, and this legislation has since then continuously been reformed in order to bring about a more equal parenthood. This study sets out to discuss the Swedish parental leave system and identify achievements, policy dilemmas and reform alternatives in a European perspective. The structure of parental insurance legislation, with earnings-related benefits and a long leave period, is often seen as a main explanation why Sweden has been able to combine relatively high fertility levels with high female labour force participation rates and low child poverty. In the perspective of changing demographic structures in Europe, with declining fertility levels and a growing number of elderly, the strengthening of dual earner family policies, including parental insurance legislation, may mitigate macro-economic and demographic problems by increasing gender equality and decreasing the work-family conflict. Despite the positive consequences, unresolved questions exist in the present parental leave legislation. The flexibility of the Swedish system, which still has extensive transferable leave rights, has the consequence that the lion’s share of parental leave days is still taken by mothers, among other things making it difficult for women to compete on equal terms with men in the labour market. Consequently, the gender-based division of parental leave may contribute to a preservation of traditional gender roles and inequalities. Another problem in the Swedish system is the work requirement for eligibility that excludes students and others with weak labour market attachment from the earnings-related benefits, possibly inflicting on the postponement of parenthood. Raising the minimum benefit could be one solution to enable childbearing among persons with weak labour market attachment, but this would also affect the economic incentives for paid work, and thus weaken the dual earner model.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Institute for Futures Studies in its series Arbetsrapport with number 2005:11.
Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2005
Date of revision:
Note: ISSN 1652-120X ISBN 91-89655-69-9
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Institute for Futures Studies, Box 591, SE-101 31 Stockholm, Sweden
Phone: 08-402 12 00
Fax: 08-24 50 14
Web page: http://www.framtidsstudier.se
More information through EDIRC
Parental leave; gender equality; reform challenges;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2005-08-13 (All new papers)
- NEP-EEC-2005-08-13 (European Economics)
- NEP-LAB-2005-08-13 (Labour Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Ranehill, Eva, 2002. "Social snedrekrytering till högre studier - En litteraturöversikt," Arbetsrapport 2002:10, Institute for Futures Studies.
- Dahlberg, Susanne & Nahum, Ruth-Aïda, 2003.
"Cohort Effects on Earnings Profiles: Evidence from Sweden,"
Working Paper Series
2003:11, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
- Dahlberg, Susanne & Nahum, Ruth-Aïda, 2003. "Cohort Effects on Earnings Profiles: Evidence from Sweden," Arbetsrapport 2003:3, Institute for Futures Studies.
- Wasmer, Etienne, 2002.
"Interpreting Europe and US Labor Markets Differences: The Specificity of Human Capital Investments,"
IZA Discussion Papers
549, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Wasmer, Etienne, 2002. "Interpreting Europe and US labor markets differences: the specificity of human capital investments," Arbetsrapport 2003:9, Institute for Futures Studies.
- Etienne Wasmer, 2006. "Interpreting Europe and US labor markets differences : the specificity of human capital investments," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/8904, Sciences Po.
- Malmberg, Bo & Sommestad, Lena, 2000. "Tunga trender i den globala utvecklingen," Arbetsrapport 2000:2, Institute for Futures Studies.
- Andersson, Jenny, 2002. "Alva´s Futures Ideas in the construction of Swedish Futures Studies," Arbetsrapport 2002:5, Institute for Futures Studies.
- Galor, Oded & Moav, Omer, 2001.
"Natural Selection and the Origin of Economic Growth,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
2727, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2002. "Natural Selection And The Origin Of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1133-1191, November.
- Galor, Oded & Moav, Omer, 2000. "Natural Selection and the Origin of Economic Growth," Arbetsrapport 2000:5, Institute for Futures Studies.
- Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2000. "Natural Selection and the Origin of economic Growth," Working Papers 2000-18, Brown University, Department of Economics.
- Christopher J. Ruhm, 1998.
"The Economic Consequences Of Parental Leave Mandates: Lessons From Europe,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 113(1), pages 285-317, February.
- Christopher J. Ruhm, 1996. "The Economic Consequences of Parental Leave Mandates: Lessons from Europe," NBER Working Papers 5688, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Sommestad, Lena, 2001. "Health and Wealth: The Contribution of Welfare State Policies to Economic Growth," Arbetsrapport 2001:3, Institute for Futures Studies.
- Henriette Engelhardt & Alexia Prskawetz, 2002. "On the changing correlation between fertility and female employment over space and time," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2002-052, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
- Lagerlöf, Nils-Petter, 2001. "From Malthus to Modern Growth: Can Epidemics Explain the Three Regimes?," Arbetsrapport 2001:1, Institute for Futures Studies.
- Christopher J. Ruhm & Jackqueline L. Teague, 1995. "Parental Leave Policies in Europe and North America," NBER Working Papers 5065, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Malmberg, Bo & Lindh, Thomas, 2004. "Forecasting global growth by age structure projections," Arbetsrapport 2004:5, Institute for Futures Studies.
- Lindh, Thomas & Malmberg, Bo, 2002. "Swedish post-war economic development. The role of age structure in a welfare state," Arbetsrapport 2003:4, Institute for Futures Studies.
- S. Philip Morgan, 2003. "Is low fertility a twenty-first-century demographic crisis?," Demography, Springer, vol. 40(4), pages 589-603, November.
- Robert Haveman & Barbara Wolfe, 1995. "The Determinants of Children's Attainments: A Review of Methods and Findings," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1829-1878, December.
- Palme, Mårten & Svensson, Ingemar, 2002. "Pathways to Retirement and Retirement Incentives in Sweden," Arbetsrapport 2002:9, Institute for Futures Studies.
- Brink, Anna & Nordblom, Katarina & Wahlberg, Roger, 2007.
"Maximum fee vs child benefit: A welfare analysis of Swedish child-care fee reform,"
Working Papers in Economics
250, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
- Brink, Anne & Nordblom, Katarina & Wahlberg, Roger, 2007. "Maximum Fee vs. Child Benefit: A Welfare Analysis of Swedish Child-Care Fee Reform," IZA Discussion Papers 2748, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Eva Andersson).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.