Female employment and elderly care: the role of care policies and culture in 21 European countries

To what extent and in what ways do welfare state policies and cultural values affect the employment patterns of mid-life women with care responsibilities toward a frail parent? The study draws on Eurobarometer micro-data integrated with country-level information to respond to this question. Performing a multilevel analysis across 21 European countries, it considers macro factors that influence the decisions of mid-life women to give up or reduce paid work in order to care for a frail elderly parent. The results show that, while the overall level of expenditure on long-term care is not influential, settings characterized by limited formal care services, and strong norms with regard to intergenerational obligations, have a negative impact on women’s attachment to the labour market. Policies and cultural factors also influence the extent to which women are polarized: in more defamilialized countries, regardless of their level of education, female carers rarely reduce their level of employment.

All this topics are devolved in this paper by Cristina Solera, Manuela Naldini and Emanuele Pavolini.


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