What makes mothers work and fathers care? The importance of family policy for equal sharing since the 1970s in Sweden
Presented by Professor Ann-Zofie Duvander, Stockholm University
The trend towards more equal sharing of both labor market work and childcare in Sweden is often referred and related to the Swedish family policy. The connection is however less often scrutinized in its detail, that is, what reform lead to what change in behaviour ? And when ? Even if it may be argued that changes are gradual and reform impact may come with a delay, we find it important to analyze the change over time in a detailed connection to the development of Swedish family policy than has been done so far. We take advantage of the Swedish register data where we can track incomes, childbearing and parental partner status back to the 1970s to look closer at such trends. In particular we focus on what made women enter, or stay on the labor market once they became mothers. We further use parental leave take up as an indicator of fathers childcare and ask what incentives are efficient in making fathers use a longer leave. I aim to conclude on a discussion on what to expect from pollicy reforms and how reform studies can be approached in a more nuanced way.