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Family Policy Indicators and Well-Being in Europe from an Evolutionary Perspective

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Abstract

Social progress and the evolution of civilizations have traditionally been predominant fields of study for sociology and important topics on political action for modern states as part of the concept of the Welfare State. The study, assessment, and design of social policies related to welfare have always focused on material indicators. However, some recent studies (Pfau-Effinger and Geissler 2005; Gauthier 1996; Held 2006; Daly and Lewis 2000) argue for the inclusion of subjective indicators to cater for aspects traditionally relegated to families’ private lives such as care or the perception of happiness. This article deals with the need to go beyond welfare to well-being from an evolutionary perspective. To do this, we propose a comparative study of different variables used by the European Social Survey (2010) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) family policy database (2013b) to analyze (a) possible variations in family policy in European countries, (b) links between well-being and the family policies being implemented, (c) the extent to which traditional indicators can measure the development of families’ needs, and (d) ways in which these indicators could be improved.

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Notes

  1. The OECD (2011c; 2012) measures “subjective well-being” as a broad definition restricted to measuring “happiness”. In particular, subjective well-being is taken to be: good mental states, including all of the various evaluations, positive and negative, that people make of their lives and the affective reactions of people to their experiences.

  2. Family policies include a wide range of indicators (direct social spending on families, services to attend to dependents, parental leave, childcare, working hours, etc.). For more information: OECD Family Database (2013b): http://www.oecd.org/els/soc/oecdfamilydatabase.htm

  3. http://www.eea.europa.eu/

  4. Not wishing to include too extensive a list, we recommend taking as a complete taxonomy the territorial synthesis commonly used by the European Observation Network for Territorial Development and Cohesion (ESPON - http://www.espon.eu). It includes several criteria, such as population density (urban/rural regions), territorial hierarchy (metropolis/medium-size cities/small towns/service centres, rural towns) and large functional standars (form global centres to depopulation in abandoned agricultural areas). For further information, see ESPON Typologies at:

    http://www.espon.eu/main/Menu_ToolsandMaps/ESPONTypologies/.

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Table 4 Measures of Pearson correlation test

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Moreno-Mínguez, A., Martínez-Fernández, LC. & Carrasco-Campos, Á. Family Policy Indicators and Well-Being in Europe from an Evolutionary Perspective. Applied Research Quality Life 11, 343–367 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11482-014-9326-2

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