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Can family-support policies help explain differences in working hours across countries?

Sila, Urban (2009) Can family-support policies help explain differences in working hours across countries? CEP Discussion Paper, No. 955. Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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Abstract

It has been suggested in the literature that taxes and subsidies play an important role in explaining the differences in working hours across countries. In this paper I test whether public programmes for family support play a role in explaining this variation. I analyse two types of policies: childcare subsidies and family cash benefits. I distinguish between people with children and people without children. Childcare subsidies should increase working hours in the economy and these effects should differ between people with children and people without children. Public support to families is also expected to decrease the amount of time people spend in childcare at home. I test this using household data for a set of European countries and the US. Empirical analysis, however, does not support the family-policy explanation. The effects of the policies on working hours are weak and insignificant. In regressions with time spent caring for children as a dependent variable, the estimates of the effects contradict the predictions of the theory. Furthermore, I don’t find evidence for the expected differences in effects between parents and nonparents. I conclude that family policies are not helpful in explaining the variation in working hours across countries.

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Official URL: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/
Additional Information: © 2009 The author
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Journal of Economic Literature Classification System: J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J1 - Demographic Economics > J13 - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
H - Public Economics > H2 - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue > H20 - General
D - Microeconomics > D1 - Household Behavior and Family Economics
I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I3 - Welfare and Poverty > I38 - Government Policy; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J2 - Time Allocation, Work Behavior, and Employment Determination and Creation; Human Capital; Retirement > J22 - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J1 - Demographic Economics > J18 - Public Policy
H - Public Economics > H3 - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents > H31 - Household
Sets: Collections > Economists Online
Research centres and groups > Centre for Economic Performance (CEP)
Rights: http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/usingTheLibrary/academicSupport/OA/depositYourResearch.aspx
Identification Number: No. 955
Date Deposited: 16 Jul 2010 15:12
URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/28684/

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