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Work and Family Balance: An Economic View

Author

Listed:
  • Lindy Fursman
  • Veronica Jacobsen
  • Jason Varuhas

    () (The Treasury)

Abstract

The way in which people balance their work and family responsibilities is becoming increasingly prominent on the policy agenda. This paper uses an economic framework to explore the rationale for government policies to improve work/family balance. It finds that strongest economic grounds for government intervention are the effects that maternal work may have on children. The evidence, however, is not strong, and whether maternal employment helps or harms children depends to a large part on the nature and quality of the childcare the children receive while the parents are at work. A number of policies could be used to promote work/family balance, including leave, childcare, changes to working hours, efforts to improve the family-friendliness of organisational cultures and tax/benefit policies. The most significant factor affecting work/family balance appears to be the organisational culture of the firm. In general, if organisational culture is not, in fact family-friendly, family-friendly measures will have little effect.

Suggested Citation

  • Lindy Fursman & Veronica Jacobsen & Jason Varuhas, 2003. "Work and Family Balance: An Economic View," Treasury Working Paper Series 03/26, New Zealand Treasury.
  • Handle: RePEc:nzt:nztwps:03/26
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    File URL: http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/research-policy/wp/2003/03-26/twp03-26.pdf
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Flüter-Hoffmann, Christiane & Solbrig, Jörn, 2003. "Wie familienfreundlich ist die deutsche Wirtschaft?," IW-Trends – Vierteljahresschrift zur empirischen Wirtschaftsforschung, Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft Köln (IW) / Cologne Institute for Economic Research, vol. 30(4), pages 37-46.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    work-life balance; work-family balance; organisational culture; public policy; workplace regulation; labour market regulation; family; family policy; childcare; parental leave; working hours; firm;

    JEL classification:

    • D21 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Theory
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • L29 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Other

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