Family Policies, Women’s Earnings, and Between-Household Inequalities: Using LIS for comparative analyses

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Last week, I was invited to present my dissertation research during the LIS Summer Workshop. My lecture was titled “Family Policies, Women’s Earnings, and Between-Household Inequalities: Using LIS for comparative analyses“. It consisted of three parts.

The first part of my lecture dealt with my argument to combine institutional and demographic explanations of women’s employment. I differentiate between two types of family policies, and how these affect women’s employment. These two types of family policies are reconciliation policies and financial support policies to families. Reconciliation policies were found to stimulates the employment of specifically mothers, thereby decreasing the employment gap between mothers and women without children. Financial support policies to fmailies with children, on the other hand, were found to increase this motherhood-employment gap.

Secondly, I have answered the question to what extent – and in what direction – women’s increased earnings have affected earnings inequality between households. Put simply: women’s earnings attenuate the earnings inequality between households. Moreover, reconciliation policies were found to stimulate women’s employment in such a way, that her attenuating contribution to household inequality was stronger, while financial support policies suppress this attenuating effect. This means that a family policy-context facilitating women’s employment contributes both to smaller inequalities within households, as well as between households.

The third part of my lecture was technical in nature, and specifically addressed comparative analyses using the LIS database. I presented a ‘netting down’ tool that may assist in comparing net and gross earnings data in the LIS database. Evaluations of the performance of this netting down tool suggest that netting down improves the quality of comparative analyses, but residual bias (between net and gross datasets) remained.

Presenting at the LIS Summer Workshop was an amazing experience, with attendants asking smart and constructive questions. I learned a lot from the experiernce, myself. The slides of my presentation are available upon request (r.nieuwenhuis@utwente.nl).

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