Advertisement

Children and Dual Worklessness in Europe: A Comparison of Nine Countries

Enfants et couples sans emploi en Europe: une comparaison entre neuf pays
  • Juho HärkönenEmail author
Article

Abstract

Parents’ labour market status is a strong determinant of children’s economic well-being, and children living in jobless households are particularly vulnerable. However, previous research has not focused on the association between children and household worklessness. In this paper, I used ECHP data from nine European countries to analyse the effects of the number and age of children on the probability that neither partner of a couple works. Results from random-effects regressions show that children increase the risk of dual worklessness in five of the countries. The effects were particularly strong in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and more generally, stronger in countries with little institutional support for working mothers, low levels of employment protection, and unexpectedly, where benefits were less likely to be means-tested. The risk of dual joblessness diminished with the age of the youngest child in Belgium, Finland, France and the United Kingdom and more generally, slower in countries with a strict employment protection regime and a high level of means-testing of social benefits. Having children can thus affect the labour market position of households, and influence their economic well-being. However, these effects can be shaped by the social policy and labour market solutions countries adopt.

Keywords

Children Couples Dual joblessness Europe Comparative research Panel data 

Résumé

La situation des parents par rapport à l’emploi est un déterminant important du bien-être économique des enfants, et les enfants vivant dans des ménages où les parents n’ont pas de travail sont particulièrement vulnérables. Cependant, les recherches antérieures se sont peu intéressées à l’association entre présence d’enfants et chômage des parents. À partir de données issues du PCM pour neuf pays européens, cet article analyse les effets du nombre et de l’âge des enfants sur la probabilité que les deux parents soient sans emploi. Les résultats de régressions à effets aléatoires montrent que la présence d’enfants augmente ce risque dans cinq de ces pays. Les effets sont particulièrement importants au Royaume-Uni et en Irlande, et en général, plus élevés dans les pays qui proposent peu de soutien institutionnel aux mères qui travaillent, où la garantie de l’emploi est faible et, de manière inattendue, où les aides sociales sont moins souvent soumises à conditions de ressources. Le risque que les deux parents soient sans emploi décroît avec l’âge du plus jeune enfant en Belgique, en Finlande, en France et au Royaume-Uni, et en général, décroît plus lentement dans les pays ayant un régime strict de garantie de l’emploi et où les aides sociales sont les plus soumises à conditions de ressources. La présence d’enfants peut donc avoir un impact sur le situation des ménages par rapport à l’emploi et influencer leur bien-être économique. Cependant, ces effets varient en fonction des politiques sociales et des aménagements du marché du travail mis en oeuvre par les États.

Mots-clés

Enfants Couples Deux partenaires sans emploi Europe Recherche comparative Données de panel 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research has benefited greatly from comments by Hill Kulu, two anonymous reviewers, Jaap Dronkers, Gøsta Esping-Andersen, Wout Ultee, Andrea Ichino and seminar participants at Barcelona, Berlin, Harvard, Nijmegen, Stockholm and Yale. All remaining errors are mine. The study received financial support from the Linnaeus Center on Social Policy and Family Dynamics in Europe (Swedish Research Council grant number 2007-8701) and the Academy of Finland (grant number 117701).

References

  1. Aassve, A., Mazzuco, S., & Mencarini, L. (2005). Childbearing and well-being: A comparative analysis of European welfare regimes. Journal of European Social Policy, 15(4), 283–299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ai, C., & Norton, E. C. (2003). Interaction terms in logit and probit models. Economics Letters, 80(2), 123–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Andersson, G. (2002). Children’s experience of family disruption and family formation: Evidence from 16 FFS countries. Demographic Research, 7(7), 343–364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Angrist, J. D., & Evans, W. N. (1998). Children and their parents’ labor supply: Evidence from exogenous variation in family size. American Economic Review, 88(3), 450–477.Google Scholar
  5. Becker, G. S. (1981). A treatise on the family. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Behr, A., Bellgardt, E., & Rendtel, U. (2005). Extent and determinants of panel attrition in the European community household panel. European Sociological Review, 21(5), 489–512.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bernhardt, E. M. (1993). Fertility and employment. European Sociological Review, 9(1), 25–42.Google Scholar
  8. Bertola, G. (1990). Job security, employment, and wages. European Economic Review, 34(4), 851–879.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bettio, F., & Prechal, S. (1998). Care in Europe. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the EC.Google Scholar
  10. Bingley, P., & Walker, I. (2001). Household unemployment and the labour supply of married women. Economica, 68(270), 157–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Blau, D. M., & Riphahn, R. T. (1999). Labour market transitions of older married couples in Germany. Labour Economics, 4(3), 229–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Blau, D. M., & Robins, P. K. (1991). Child care and the labour supply of young mothers over time. Demography, 28(3), 333–351.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Blossfeld, H.-P., & Drobnič, S. (2001). Careers of couples in contemporary societies: from male-breadwinner to dual-earner families. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Bradshaw, J., & Finch, N. (2002). A comparison of child benefit packages in 22 countries. Leeds: Department of Work and Pensions.Google Scholar
  15. Bruning, G., & Plantenga, J. (1999). Parental leave and equal opportunities: Experiences in eight European countries. Journal of European Social Policy, 9(3), 195–209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Correll, S. J., Benard, S., & Paik, I. (2007). Getting a job: Is there a motherhood penalty? American Journal of Sociology, 112(5), 1297–1337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. De Graaf, P. M., & Ultee, W. C. (1991). Labour market transitions of husbands and wives. The Netherlands’ Journal of Social Sciences, 27(1), 43–59.Google Scholar
  18. De Graaf, P. M., & Ultee, W. C. (2000). United in employment, united in unemployment? Employment and unemployment of couples in the European Union in 1994. In D. Gallie, S. Paugam, & Serge (Eds.), Welfare regimes and the experience of unemployment in Europe (pp. 265–285). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Doris, A. (1998). An analysis of the labour supply reactions of British women to their husbands’ unemployment (Doctoral thesis, Department of Economics, European University Institute, 1998).Google Scholar
  20. Easterlin, R. A. (1975). An economic framework for fertility analysis. Studies in Family Planning, 6(3), 54–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ermisch, J., Francesconi, M., & Pevalin, D. J. (2004). Parental partnership and joblessness in childhood and their influence on young people’s outcomes. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society-Series A, 167(1), 69–102.Google Scholar
  22. Esping-Andersen, G (1996). Welfare states without work: The impasse of labour shedding and familialism in continental European social policy. In Esping-Andersen G (Ed.) Welfare states in transition. National adaptations in global economies (pp. 66–87). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  23. Esping-Andersen, G. (1999). Social foundations of postindustrial economies. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Esping-Andersen, G. (2002). Why we need a new welfare state. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Eurostat. (2003). ECHP UDB Manual. European community household panel users’ database. Waves 1 to 8, survey years 1994 to 2001. Luxembourg: Eurostat.Google Scholar
  26. Giannelli, G., & Micklewright, J. (1995). Why do women married to unemployed men have low participation rates? Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, 57(4), 471–486.Google Scholar
  27. Gornick, J. C., Meyers, M. K., & Ross, K. E. (1997). Supporting the employment of mothers: Policy variation across fourteen welfare states. Journal of European Social Policy, 7(1), 45–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gornick, J. C., Meyers, M. K., & Ross, K. E. (1998). Public policies and the employment of mothers. A cross-national study. Social Science Quarterly, 79(1), 35–54.Google Scholar
  29. Gough, I., Bradshaw, J., Ditch, J., Eardley, T., & Whiteford, P. (1997). Social assistance in OECD countries. Journal of European Social Policy, 7(1), 17–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Gregg, P., Scutella, R., & Wadsworth, J. (2004). Reconciling worklessness measures at the individual and household level: Theory and evidence from the United States, Britain, Germany, Spain, and Australia. CEP Discussion Paper No 635. London: Center For Economic Performance.Google Scholar
  31. Gregg, P., & Wadsworth, J. (2001). Everything you ever wanted to know about measuring worklessness and polarization at the household level but were afraid to ask. Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, 63(Special Issue), 777–806.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Gregg, P., & Wadsworth, J. (2003). Workless households and the recovery. In R. Dickens, P. Gregg, & J. Wadsworth (Eds.), The labour market under new labour: The state of working Britain (pp. 32–39). Basingstoke: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  33. Hakim, C. (2003). Models of the family in modern societies: Ideals and realities. Aldershot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  34. Härkönen, J. (2007). Jobless couples in Europe. Comparative studies with longitudinal data (Doctoral Dissertation, European University Institute, Florence 2007).Google Scholar
  35. Heckman, J. J. (1993). What has been learned of labor supply in the past twenty years? American Economic Review, 83(2), 116–121.Google Scholar
  36. Hellevik, O. (2009). Linear versus logistic regression when the dependent variable is a dichotomy. Quality & Quantity, 43(1), 59–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Immervol, H. & Barber, D. (2005). Can parents afford to work? Childcare costs, tax-benefit policies and work incentives. OECD social, employment and migration working papers, No. 31. Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
  38. Jaumotte, F. (2003). Labour force participation of women: Empirical evidence on the role of policy and other determinants in OECD countries. OECD Economic Studies, 37(2), 51–108.Google Scholar
  39. Kamerman, S. B. (2000). Early childhood education and care: An overview of developments in OECD countries. International Journal of Educational Research, 33(1), 7–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Killingsworth, M. R. & Heckman, J. J. (1987). Female labour supply. A survey. In O. C. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (Eds.), Handbook of labour economics (Vol. 1, pp. 103–204). Amsterdam: North Holland.Google Scholar
  41. Korenman, S., & Neumark, D. (1991). Does marriage really make men more productive? Journal of Human Resources, 26(2), 282–307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Loh, E. S. (1996). Productivity differences and the marriage wage premium for white males. Journal of Human Resources, 31(3), 566–589.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Lundberg, S. (1988). Labor supply of husbands and wives: A simultaneous equations approach. Review of Economics and Statistics, 70(2), 224–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Lundberg, S., & Rose, E. (2002). The effects of sons and daughters on men’s labour supply and wages. Review of Economics and Statistics, 84(2), 251–268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Matysiak, A., & Vignoli, D. (2008). Fertility and women’s employment: A meta-analysis. European Journal of Population, 24(4), 363–384.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. McGinnity, F. (2002). The labour force participation of the wives of unemployed men. Comparing Britain and Germany using longitudinal data. European Sociological Review, 18(4), 473–488.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. MISSOC. (various years). Social protection in the member states of the European Union, of the European Economic area and in Switzerland. Luxemburg: European Commission.Google Scholar
  48. Mood, C. (2010). Logistic regression: Why we cannot do what we think we can do, and what can we do about it. European Sociological Review, 26(1), 67–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Nickell, S. (2004). Poverty and worklessness in Britain. Economic Journal, 114(March), C1–C25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. OECD. (1998). Employment outlook. Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
  51. OECD. (2001). Employment outlook. Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
  52. OECD. (2004a). OECD observer no. 245. Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
  53. OECD. (2004b). Social indicators. Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
  54. OECD. (2004c). Employment outlook. Paris: OECD.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. OECD. (2009). OECD family database. Paris: OECD. Retrieved July 8, 2009, from www.oecd.org/els/social/family/database.
  56. Petersen, T. (2004). Analyzing panel data: Fixed- and random-effects models. In M. A. Hardy & A. Bryman (Eds.), Handbook of data analysis (pp. 331–345). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  57. Przeworski, A., & Teune, H. (1970). The logic of comparative social inquiry. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  58. Ray, R., Gornick, J. C., & Schmitt, J. (2009). Parental leave policies in 21 countries. Assessing generosity and gender equality. Washington, DC: Center for Economic and Policy Research.Google Scholar
  59. Ruhm, C. (1998). The economic consequences of parental leave mandates: Lessons from Europe. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 113(2), 285–317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Sigle-Rushton, W., & Waldfogel, J. (2007). The incomes of families with children: A cross-national comparison. Journal of European Social Policy, 17(4), 299–318.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. UNICEF. (2007). Child poverty in perspective: An overview of child well-being in rich countries. Florence: UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre.Google Scholar
  62. Uunk, W., Kalmijn, M., & Muffels, R. (2005). The impact of young children on women’s labour supply. Acta Sociologica, 48(1), 41–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Wooldridge, J. M. (2002). Econometric analysis of cross section and panel data. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Demography Unit, Department of SociologyStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Swedish Institute for Social ResearchStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden
  3. 3.Department of Social ResearchUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland

Personalised recommendations