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The unequal benefits of family activation: an analysis of the social distribution of family policy among families with young children

Listed author(s):
  • Joris Ghysels
  • Wim Van Lancker

In the last decades, measures to reconcile work and family life arose in response to new societal needs stemming from the generalization of dual earnership. However, dual earnership has not been adopted evenly across various social groups in European societies. Consequently, concerns about the distribution of the benefit of those policies arise: does this new orientation entail a loss of redistributive power of the welfare state? We address this question by focussing on the interaction of three types of family measures and their overall distributional effect in Europe with the Belgian region of Flanders as case in point. We develop a fine-grained analysis to reveal the budgetary impact of the variation in use and generosity, and find that the redistributive effect of child benefits is largely undone by subsidized childcare and parental leave benefits. As such, our analysis supports concern about a reduction of the redistributive character of the "new" welfare state.

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Paper provided by Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp in its series Working Papers with number 1008.

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Date of creation: Oct 2010
Handle: RePEc:hdl:wpaper:1008
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  1. Spiess, C. Katharina & Kreyenfeld, Michaela & Wagner, Gert G., 2003. "A Forgotten Issue: Distributional Effects of Day Care Subsidies in Germany," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 159-175.
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