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Stier, Haya
Mandel, Hadas
Year of Publication: 
Series/Report no.: 
LIS Working Paper Series 359
This paper examines the effect of family-oriented policies on wives economic dependency within the household. Using national samples of working-age couples in 19 countries (obtained from the Luxembourg Income Study) we employed Hierarchical Linear Models in order to separate the effects of individual and country level variables on women's economic dependency. We distinguish between two types of policies: those which could potentially challenge the traditional division of labor between the genders (e.g., child-care arrangements) and those which preserve it (e.g. maternity leave). The findings suggest that in general, generous maternity leave and child-care facilities reduce women's economic dependency through their effect on female labor force participation. Similarly, part-time employment reduces women's economic dependency inasmuch as it facilitates the incorporation of women to the labor force. However, among dual-earner families, higher rates of child-care facilities had no effect on women's dependency level, while part time employment increased it. Contrary to our expectations, highly developed maternity leave policies were found to reduce women's economic dependency level. Our findings support the general assertion that increasing the level of women's economic activity improves their standing within the household. Nonetheless, the relatively high levels of women's economic dependency among those who already decided to participate in market work, suggest that in order to increase gender equality within the household, policies should aim not only at facilitating women's employment per se but also at equalizing the conditions under which men and women work.
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Working Paper
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