Family Policies or Labor Markets? The Male-Female Wage Gap and Gender Occupational Segregation in 14 Welfare States from 1960 to 2008

Eric Tranby, University of Delaware

Women continue to face significant employment inequality in wages and are segregated into different jobs. I assess how the welfare state and labor markets influence women’s employment inequality in pay and jobs across 14 welfare states from 1960-2008. I focus on family policies including parental leaves, publicly funded childcare, childcare leaves, and family allowances. Family policies are targeted at mothers and families with children, and so should, theoretically, reduce employment inequality between men and women. However, there is little research on this relationship. I find that parental leaves and publicly-funded childcare reduce the male-female wage gap. Neither parental leaves nor childcare policies appear to be related to occupational gender segregation. Family allowances and childcare leaves increase occupational gender segregation. The finding for the pay gap is important because recent research has found that much of the pay gap across countries has been shown to be due to motherhood.

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Presented in Session 88: A Comparative Perspective on Family Policies