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Do ‘institutional complementarities’ foster female labour force participation?1


We analyse how female labour force participation responds to policies supporting the work-life balance, and do so using country-level data for 18 OECD countries from 1980 to 2007. Included is an original analysis of ‘complementarities’ between different policy measures, as well as of potential variations in their influence across different family policy regimes. The results highlight that expanded childcare service coverage affects women's labour market participation, which is greater in countries where support for working mothers is higher overall. But the influence of each single policy measure varies across regimes. Interactions between policy measures and the context in which they are implemented are important factors to consider since they can, for instance, either foster the positive impact of one measure or lessen the adverse effect of another.

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Willem Adema, Lucie Davoine, Nuria Diez-Guardia, Monika Queisser, Margarita Estevez-Abe and seminar attendants at the OECD, OFCE, INED, NY 2014 conference of the Work and Family Research Network, Collegio Carlo Alberto are acknowledged for providing valuable comments on an earlier draft of this paper. Andrea Bassanini is also thanked for sharing his programs. The author has no financial or other material interests related to this project to disclose. I acknowledge the financial support of the European Commission for a former version of this work. The views expressed in this paper are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the OECD or its member countries.

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Journal of Institutional Economics
  • ISSN: 1744-1374
  • EISSN: 1744-1382
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-institutional-economics
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