Families at stake: childbirth's effects on families' income and parents' participation in labour market within different countries
Dept. Education University of Macerata Italy,
Gerontology Institute University of Mass, Boston Brookline, MA, Usa
ERDI Ceps-Instead, Luxembourg Differdange, Luxembourg
The past two decades in Western European societies have been marked by a decline in birthrates together with an increase in women's work force participation. This has given rise to a massive transformation in traditional patterns of relationships especially in gender roles and family size. The work-family balance in the different national frameworks are the result of the different social and family policies designed on the basis of the aspects related to work, gender roles, family forms and different welfare strategies. Although there are guiding principles in the EU masterplan each country has its own social and family policies. This paper will examine the outcome of the birth of a child and link this outcome to specific family policies in UK, Germany, Italy, France, Luxembourg, Denmark, Spain, Portugal, Greece.
The outcome of the birth of a child will be measured in the data by comparing the pre-childbirth income and its sources to the post childbirth income and its sources. How does the financial impact of having a child differ in different countries? What is the impact of the compensation provided by the state in terms of transfer benefits for families? What is the impact on women´s labour force activity? What are the changes in the wage income of the family members?
This research uses the Consortium of Household panels for European socio-economic Research (CHER) longitudinal panel from 1990 to 2002 in the eight European countries (www.ceps.lu/cher/accueil.cfm). Households are included when a birth appears in year 1. These households are examined for total income as well as sources of income in Year 0, before the birth and in Year 2, after the birth. If the income variables are incomplete, the case is dropped. Data provide for a detailed cross national comparison before and after the birth of a child for market work, wage income and public transfer income, including family benefits. The results indicate that there are important differences among the European countries studied.