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Maybe Baby: Comparing Partnered Women's Employment and Child Policies in the EU-15


  • Jerome De Henau
  • Daniele Meulders
  • Sile O'Dorchai


This paper examines how child-related public policies influence women's employment in Europe. The analysis compares the difference in employment status between partnered mothers and nonmothers across the EU-15 using a wide range of self-constructed indicators of child policies such as childcare provision, parental leave, and tax-cash benefits. Using the recycled predictions method, it is possible to isolate the impact of the presence of a child from other characteristics likely to influence women's labor-market outcomes. Country-specific employment gaps among women are computed at different ages for the youngest child, for different outcomes (inactivity and part-time or full-time work), and for different levels of education. The main conclusion is that when it comes to securing equal labor-market access and conditions for mothers of young children and non-mothers, public childcare provision has the strongest impact. In the absence of public childcare, not even the most highly educated mothers can cope.

Suggested Citation

  • Jerome De Henau & Daniele Meulders & Sile O'Dorchai, 2010. "Maybe Baby: Comparing Partnered Women's Employment and Child Policies in the EU-15," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(1), pages 43-77.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:16:y:2010:i:1:p:43-77 DOI: 10.1080/13545700903382703

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kambhampati, Uma S. & Rajan, Raji, 2006. "Economic growth: A panacea for child labor?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 426-445, March.
    2. Quisumbing, Agnes R. & Maluccio, John A., 2000. "Intrahousehold allocation and gender relations," FCND discussion papers 84, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    3. Patrick M. Emerson & Andre Portela Souza, 2002. "Bargaining over Sons and Daughters: Child Labor, School Attendance and Intra-Household Gender Bias in Brazil," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0213, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
    4. Geoffrey Lancaster & Pushkar Maitra & Ranjan Ray, 2006. "Endogenous Intra-household Balance of Power and its Impact on Expenditure Patterns: Evidence from India," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 73(291), pages 435-460, August.
    5. Kaushik Basu, 2006. "Gender and Say: a Model of Household Behaviour with Endogenously Determined Balance of Power," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(511), pages 558-580, April.
    6. McElroy, Marjorie B & Horney, Mary Jean, 1981. "Nash-Bargained Household Decisions: Toward a Generalization of the Theory of Demand," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 22(2), pages 333-349, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Joanna Osiñska, 2013. "Postawy wzglêdem euro i ich determinanty– przegl¹d badañ i literatury przedmiotu," Working Papers 70, Institute of Statistics and Demography, Warsaw School of Economics.
    2. Mathilde Guergoat-Larivière & Christine Erhel, 2010. "Labour market status, transitions and gender: a European perspective," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00484577, HAL.
    3. Eliane El Badaoui & Eleonora Matteazzi, 2014. "To be a Mother, or not to be? Career and Wage Ladder in Italy and the UK," EconomiX Working Papers 2014-30, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.
    4. Anna Matysiak & Dorota Węziak-Białowolska, 2016. "Country-Specific Conditions for Work and Family Reconciliation: An Attempt at Quantification," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 32(4), pages 475-510, October.
    5. Tindara Addabbo & Anna Maccagnan, 2011. "The Italian Labour Market and the Crisis," Department of Economics 0644, University of Modena and Reggio E., Faculty of Economics "Marco Biagi".
    6. Paula Rodríguez-Modroño & Mauricio Matus López & Lina Gálvez-Muñoz, 2016. "Female labor force participation, inequality and household well-being in the Second Globalization. The Spanish case," Working Papers 16.02, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Department of Economics, Quantitative Methods and Economic History.


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