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Work, Family And Childcare

An Empirical Analysis of European Households

Joris Ghysels

Edward Elgar 2004 304 s. ISBN 1 84376 918 2
Bogomtale fra forlaget.

‘What makes this book so special is that the author is well aware of both the policy debates – the economic theory debate on household decision models and the econometric debate on endogeneity and simultaneity in estimations. If only all econometric work could be equally as policy relevant and all policy relevant work could be so well grounded in econometrics. The result is an enlightening, comprehensive and pedagogic account of the link between work, family and childcare, which bridges the gap between the econometric model builders and the policy analysts.’
– Siv Gustafsson, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

‘This book serves up a rich blend of modern family economics, econometrics and knowledge of social institutions to shed light on important social policy issues, including equal opportunity and childcare policies. It demonstrates how careful econometric analysis guided by theory can improve our understanding of how spouses interact in allocating their time to paid employment and to caring for children. The importance of social institutions is demonstrated by undertaking comparable analyses for three European countries – Belgium, Denmark and Spain.’
– John Ermisch, University of Essex, UK

‘Based on economic theory and empirical evidence of European social reality, Joris Ghysels analyses micro-data using up-to-date econometrics. He thereby produces innovative insights and suggestions for policy change which will be of interest to scientists and policymakers alike.’
– Bea Cantillon, University of Antwerp, Belgium

Work, Family and Childcare studies the joint decisions made by parents regarding the time they allocate to paid employment and childcare. Extensive cross-national data is analysed from three countries that represent the diversity of European households: Belgium, Denmark and Spain. The book compares and contrasts the results and draws out important implications for European social policy.

Among Belgian and Danish couples, the author identifies a variety of ways in which the responsibility of childcare is handled. In certain cases both partners will invest considerable time and effort in looking after the child, whereas in other couples one parent will compensate for their partner's lack of time. He also demonstrates that childcare considerations dominate parental decision-making. This is evident not only in a country such as Spain which lacks childcare facilities, but also in Denmark which, relatively speaking, provides an abundance of childcare services. Importantly, the author finds that joint preferences tend to result in either work-centred or care-centred couples, which poses new challenges for policymakers. He argues that future policy initiatives regarding the relationship between ‘work and care’ should focus on parental diversity and help parents to balance care responsibilities and employment according to their preferences

This superb new book combines econometric analysis and social policy insights to address an issue of increasing importance to a growing number of people. It will appeal to a broad international audience including economists, sociologists and social policy researchers. It will also be of value to students on a range of courses concerned with family or household economics.

Contents: Introduction 1. Theoretical Models of Household Decision Making 2. The Recent History of Households, Labour and Demography 3. Econometric Considerations 4. An Application to EU Household Decision Making: Young Couples in Denmark, Belgium and Spain 5. Empirical Results for Belgium 6. Empirical Results for Denmark 7. Empirical Results for Spain 8. Household Decision Making and Time Allocation: A Tale of Conflicts and Complementarity 9. Households, Children and Childcare Facilities 10. Conclusion Bibliography Index