Overzicht:

To whose benefit? An empirical and comparative investigation into the (un)intended consequences of family policy in the social investment state

TitleTo whose benefit? An empirical and comparative investigation into the (un)intended consequences of family policy in the social investment state
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsVan Lancker, W.
Academic DepartmentFaculty of Political and Social Sciences
Number of Pages266
Date Published05/2014
PublisherUniversity Press Antwerp
Place PublishedAntwerp
Thesis Typedoctoral dissertation
ISBN Number978-90-5718-060-6
Abstract

Starting from the concept of the Matthew effect and inspired by the work of Robert Merton, this dissertation explores the intended as well as unintended consequences of family policy measures in the social investment state. Two overarching research questions are addressed in an empirical and comparative way: 1) Who benefits from government investment in current family policy measures?; and 2) What are the consequences of government investment in family policy? The results suggest that governments have good reasons to care about the social distribution of the benefits of family policy measures. It cannot be assumed that families from different social and economic backgrounds will react in a homogeneous way to the options and opportunities shaped by family policies. The analyses show that inequality prevails in the use of ‘new’ family policy measures such as childcare services and parental leave schemes: the middle and higher-incomes benefit more from government investment for these measures than low-income families. This is likely to counteract the social investment objective of mitigating inequalities in early life. The Matthew effect in family policy is not set in stone, however, and is related to policy design. In order for the social investment strategy to be effective, due account should be taken of internal consistency of policies and of labour market participation, and social spending should be increased. Notwithstanding the current policy focus on childcare and parental leave, ‘old’ family policy measures such as child benefits have a direct and important impact on inequality in early childhood. A focus on income protection should be an indispensable part of any successful investment strategy.

Universiteit Antwerpen - University of Antwerp
Centrum voor Sociaal Beleid © 2005 - 2019