Journal article

The Impact of Welfare States on the Division of Housework in the Family: A New Comprehensive Theoretical and Empirical Framework of Analysis

Year:

2014

Published in:

Journal of Family Issues
housework
gender
housework allocation
welfare state regime

This study reviews the relationship between social policy and the division of domestic chores in the family by providing a new theoretical framework for housework reallocation. We argue that if presented as a dual process composed of modern values formation and behavioral compliance with such values, the reallocation of unpaid labor can be affected by a wide set of welfare state policies. In particular, education or labor market policies contribute to the emergence of modern values, while child care provision or poverty alleviation practices facilitate behavioral compliance with them. We suggest that the level of symmetry in the distribution of domestic chores in families is a function of whether or not policies promoting both stages of the reallocation are introduced. In addition, we demonstrate what may result if only one of them becomes a key target of welfare state activities. This theoretical framework is tested on data from the European Social Survey (2004) for 25 countries, using a variety of statistical techniques.

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