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Towards a Framework for Assessing Family Policies in the EU


Author Info

  • Henning Lohmann
  • Frauke H. Peter
  • Tine Rostgaard
  • Katharina Spiess


This report presents the results of a first attempt to create a framework for assessing the performance of national family policies. The report is part of a joint EU and OECD project, which aims to help the EU Government Expert Group on Demographic Issues in evaluating national family policies. The idea behind the framework is that it allows individual countries to compare their overall performance in the area of family policies with the performance of other countries. The main focus of the report is policies for families with smaller children. The framework provides a set of cross-nationally comparable indicators on contexts, policy measures, and outcomes, organised on a systematic basis. The policy measure indicators presented in the report cover leave schemes, early childhood education and care, family benefits and workplace policies. The indicators build upon, inter alia, previous work by the OECD in various studies on family-friendly policies that were carried out on a cross-national basis using different sets of indicators. Most of these indicators are today available in the OECD Family Database. Wherever the OECD Family Database contains indicators for the majority of EU member states and OECD countries, these data have been used in the present study. Otherwise, data from other cross-national databases have been included. Each indicator in the framework is presented as a single-standing indicator in the general absence of scientific consensus on different aggregation weights. In the report no explicit ranking of countries has been attempted, instead the relative position of countries has been illustrated with the help of standard deviation scores. In the last part of the report the linkages between policy aims and the various context, outcome and policy measures are indicated, which help construct “score cards”. This “score card-approach” is illustrated for three countries: Denmark, Germany and the United Kingdom. The report offers tools for assessment that may be developed further, and should offer an approach to using the OECD Family Database, acknowledging this unique data source for cross-country comparisons in the field of family policy. Ce rapport présente les résultats d’une première tentative d’élaborer un cadre d’évaluation de la performance des politiques nationales en faveur des familles. Ce rapport fait partie d’un projet élaboré conjointement par l’Union européenne et l’OCDE, qui vise à aider le groupe d’experts gouvernementaux sur les sujets démographiques de l’UE pour évaluer les politiques nationales d’aides aux familles. L’idée sous-jacente est de permettre à chaque pays de comparer ses performances avec celles des autres pays. Les familles avec de jeunes enfants sont le principal sujet d’analyse de ce rapport. Le cadre élaboré propose un ensemble d’indicateurs comparables entre pays sur les contextes, les mesures politiques et les résultats, organisés sur une base systématique. Les indicateurs de mesures politiques couvrent les dispositifs de congé, d’aides à l’éducation et aux soins accordées à la petite enfance, les prestations financières et les politiques liées au lieu de travail. Ces indicateurs ont été élaborés, inter alia, à partir des travaux antérieurs de l’OCDE sur les politiques favorables aux familles qui ont été conduites de manière comparative sur la base de différents ensembles d’indicateurs. La plupart de ces indicateurs sont aujourd’hui disponibles au sein de la base de données OCDE sur les Familles. Ces indicateurs ont été inclus pour la majorité des pays de l’UE et de l’OCDE pour lesquels ils sont disponibles. Lorsqu’ils n’étaient pas disponibles, des données provenant de bases internationales ont été prises en compte. Chaque indicateur est présenté ici de façon séparée, car il n’y a pas de consensus scientifique sur la pondération qui permettrait de les agréger. Aucun classement explicite des pays n’a été tenté ici ; la position relative des pays est, au contraire, illustrée au moyen de scores d’écarts-types. Dans la dernière partie du rapport, les liens entre les objectifs politiques et les variables de contexte de résultats et de mesures politiques sont pris en compte pour élaborer des « cartes de score ». Cette approche par « cartes de scores » est illustrée pour trois pays : le Danemark, l’Allemagne et le Royaume-Uni. Ce rapport offre des outils d’évaluation qui pourront être encore développés, et devrait offrir une approche de la manière d’utiliser la base de données de l’OCDE sur les Familles, qui constitue une source de données incontournable pour faire des comparaisons internationales dans le champ des politiques familiales.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers with number 88.

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Date of creation: 03 Jun 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:oec:elsaab:88-en

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Keywords: workplace policies; parental leave schemes; family benefits; early childhood education and care; éducation et accueil des jeunes enfants; régimes de congé parental; prestations familiales; lieu de travail;

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Cited by:
  1. Davies, John Kenneth & Sherriff, Nigel, 2011. "The gradient in health inequalities among families and children: A review of evaluation frameworks," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 101(1), pages 1-10, June.


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