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The distributive effects of work-family life policies in European welfare states

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  • Tine Hufkens
  • Gerlinde Verbist

Abstract

An aspect that has only recently received attention in the study of policy measures aimed at supporting families with young children in their work-family life balance is its distributive impact. Are these measures used by poor and rich families alike, or is there a ‘Matthew effect’ at play, in the sense that poor families are underrepresented in using such measures? In order to perform such an evaluation one needs to have a measure of both cash and in-kind benefits related to policies that help families cope with the care of young children and job expectations. In-kind benefits are offered mainly in the form of subsidized early childhood education and care (ECEC), for which an appropriate cash equivalent has to be derived. As the value of in-kind benefits from publicly provided services is not included in the EU-SILC data, we derive them for this paper in line with earlier studies (e.g. Matsaganis and Verbist, 2009; Vaalavuo, 2011; Förster and Verbist, 2012; Van Lancker, 2014; Van Lancker and Ghysels, 2014). In comparison to these earlier studies, however, our analysis is much more fine-grained as we use the microsimulation model EUROMOD to include more precise estimates of parental fees and related tax-benefit policies; thus, we will have a better estimate of the net in-kind benefit households derive from ECEC services. We focus on policy measures going to children under compulsory schooling age for a selection of seven EU-countries. These improved estimates allow us to analyze the work-family polices from three perspectives: 1) how do the distributive characteristics of cash and in-kind benefits compare to one another in this domain?; 2) how do countries compare to one another in their policy perspective in terms of supporting outsourcing or home-based care for young children?; 3) what is the balance between private and public efforts for outsourced childcare across countries? Our results show that including net fees in the analysis attenuates the Matthew effect, in the sense that net fees are relatively more heavy for richer households than for the poor. There is, however, considerable cross-country variation.

Suggested Citation

  • Tine Hufkens & Gerlinde Verbist, 2016. "The distributive effects of work-family life policies in European welfare states," ImPRovE Working Papers 16/09, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
  • Handle: RePEc:hdl:improv:1609
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    File URL: http://www.centrumvoorsociaalbeleid.be/ImPRovE/Working%20Papers/ImPRovE%20WP%201609_1.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:aia:ginidp:dp53 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Gerlinde Verbist & Michael Förster & Maria Vaalavuo, 2012. "The Impact of Publicly Provided Services on the Distribution of Resources: Review of New Results and Methods," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 130, OECD Publishing.
    3. Joris Ghysels & Wim Van Lancker, 2010. "The unequal benefits of family activation: an analysis of the social distribution of family policy among families with young children," Working Papers 1008, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
    4. Francesco Figari & Alari Paulus & Holly Sutherland, 2009. "Measuring the size and impact of public cash support for children in cross-national perspective," Working Papers 024, "Carlo F. Dondena" Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (DONDENA), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi.
    5. Joris Ghysels & Kim Vercammen, 2012. "The beneficiaries of childcare expansion," Working Papers 1202, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
    6. Sutherland, Holly, 2001. "EUROMOD: an integrated European benefit-tax model: final report," EUROMOD Working Papers EM9/01, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    7. Verbist, G. (Gerlinde) & Matsaganis, M. (Manos), 2012. "GINI DP 53: The Redistributive Capacity of Services in the EU," GINI Discussion Papers 53, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
    8. Wim Van Lancker & Joris Ghysels, 2011. "Who reaps the benefits? The social distribution of public childcare in Sweden and Flanders," Working Papers 1106, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Tim Goedemé & Tess Penne & Tine Hufkens & Alexandros Karakitsios & Anikó Bernát & Bori Simonovits & Elena Carillo Alvarez & Eleni Kanavitsa & Irene Cussó Parcerisas & Jordi Riera Romaní & Lauri M, 2017. "What Does It Mean To Live on the Poverty Threshold? Lessons From Reference Budgets," Working Papers 1707, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
    2. Verónica Amarante & Maira Colacce & Victoria Tenenbaum, 2017. "National Care System in Uruguay: Who benefits and who pays?," WIDER Working Paper Series 002, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Family policy; child care; in-kind benefits; income distribution; microsimulation;

    JEL classification:

    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • C53 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Forecasting and Prediction Models; Simulation Methods

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