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Family Policy Index: A Tool for Policy Makers to Increase the Effectiveness of Family Policies

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Abstract

This paper presents the Family Policy Index (XFPI), an analytical tool designed to measure and compare different models of countries’ provision of educational services, parental leave and economic transfers to support families with children aged 0–3 years. The objective of this index is twofold: from a scientific perspective, it aims at measuring and comparing the overall support families receive through public policies; it also serves advocacy purposes, since the index may offer guidance to policy makers on best practices and may also increase citizens’ awareness of the efforts each country is making to support families. The XFPI has been conceptualized following a gender equality principle, considering that policies must involve both mothers and fathers in the exercise of their equal responsibility as parents. The XFPI was measured for two countries, Spain and Norway, in the 1999–2014 period, to test its applicability to different real scenarios and models of Welfare State with different policies and intentions, in which responsibility for childcare falls on two different agents: the State in Norway, and the family in Spain. The results show the extremely low development of Spanish pre-educational services for children 0–3 and, simultaneously, the existing limitations of Norwegian family policies in respect of gender equality. The index has the capacity to provide robust results applicable in different countries and to project into the future the potential scenarios that countries may face when designing new policies.

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Notes

  1. The process of building the FPI is coherent with the OECD Handbook on Constructing Composite Indicators (OECD 2008).

  2. http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/data/database, see table (spr_exp_ffa).

  3. These data are published by the Ministry of Education. Countries analysed in this study do not publish information about the supply of places, but only about the enrolment figures, that is, their practical use.

  4. They are expected to be applicable to other countries, since Spain and Norway constitute examples of both extremes in terms of the length of leave.

  5. As for Norway, private seats have been assimilated to public ones, for the reasons explained in the methods section.

  6. Mothers are assigned 3 additional weeks prior to birth for health reasons.

  7. In 2017 the fathers’ quota was extended to 4 weeks, which would have increased the DEQU of Spain to 0.27.

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Funding

Research for this article was carried out as part of the project “EDPs no lineales y aplicaciones”, financed by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, MTM2014-57113-P.

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Correspondence to Begoña Elizalde-San Miguel.

Appendices

Appendix 1

See Tables 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Table 1 Sub-indices and global XFPI in Spain, 1999–2014.
Table 2 Sub-indices and global XFPI in Norway, 1999–2014.
Table 3 RIEQ values for Spain, 1999–2014.
Table 4 RIEQ values for Norway, 1999–2014.

Appendix 2

See Table 5.

Table 5 List of acronyms and Sources of information.

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Elizalde-San Miguel, B., Díaz Gandasegui, V. & Sanz García, M.T. Family Policy Index: A Tool for Policy Makers to Increase the Effectiveness of Family Policies. Soc Indic Res 142, 387–409 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-018-1920-5

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