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Female employment, institutions and the role of reference groups: a multilevel analysis of 22 European countries

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  • Wim Van Lancker
  • Joris Ghysels

Abstract

This article argues that the effect of policy institutions on female labor market participation is mediated by reference groups surrounding individual women. Using recent data on individual women between 20 and 49 years in 22 European countries, we distinguish between two types of institutions: public childcare availability and public sector employment. We hypothesize that both institutions are conducive to womenÂ’s employment but that the effect differs across different social groups. More generally the analysis aims at the identification of good practices, i.e. countries that succeed in shaping women-friendly circumstances on the labor market. By means of a logistic multilevel model, we find that both public childcare and public sector employment are associated with higher female employment chances. We also find that women embedded in different reference groups behave differently on the labor market, that public childcare provision and public sector employment are helpful to raise the odds of employment for lower and medium educated women respectively. Finally, we observe that, ceteris paribus, non-urban areas shape better employment opportunities than urban areas.

Suggested Citation

  • Wim Van Lancker & Joris Ghysels, 2010. "Female employment, institutions and the role of reference groups: a multilevel analysis of 22 European countries," Working Papers 1002, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
  • Handle: RePEc:hdl:wpaper:1002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Neumark, David & Postlewaite, Andrew, 1998. "Relative income concerns and the rise in married women's employment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 157-183, October.
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    3. Alois Stutzer & Rafael Lalive, 2004. "The Role of Social Work Norms in Job Searching and Subjective Well-Being," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(4), pages 696-719, June.
    4. Sarah Irwin, 2004. "Attitudes, Care and Commitment: Pattern and Process," Sociological Research Online, Sociological Research Online, vol. 9(3).
    5. David Blau & Philip Robins, 1991. "Child care demand and labor supply of young mothers over time," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 28(3), pages 333-351, August.
    6. K. R. Narayanan, 1954. "Freedom in Modern Society," India Quarterly: A Journal of International Affairs, , vol. 10(4), pages 376-381, October.
    7. Chris Klaveren & Joris Ghysels, 2012. "Collective Labor Supply and Child Care Expenditures: Theory and Application," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 33(2), pages 196-224, June.
    8. Esping-Andersen, Gosta, 1999. "Social Foundations of Postindustrial Economies," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198742005.
    9. Lundberg, Shelly, 1985. "The Added Worker Effect," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages 11-37, January.
    10. Danièle Meulders & Jérôme De Henau & Sile Padraigin O'Dorchai, 2007. "Making time for working parents: comparing public childcare provision," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/7708, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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    Cited by:

    1. Wim Van Lancker, 2011. "ItÂ’s all about the money? Temporary employment, gender, poverty and the role of regulations from a broad European perspective," Working Papers 1102, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
    2. Jeroen Horemans, 2016. "The part-time poverty gap across Europe: How institutions affect the way part-time and full-time workers avoid poverty differently," Working Papers 1603, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.

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