761.4 Recalibrating welfare states in the OECD world? The (R)evolutionary expansion of family policy

Saturday, August 4, 2012: 5:15 PM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Emanuele FERRAGINA , Social Policy and Intervention, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom
Martin SEELEIB-KAISER , Social Policy and Intervention, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
Recalibrating Welfare States in the OECD world?

The (R)evolutionary Expansion of Family Policy


Emanuele Ferragina and Martin Seeleib-Kaiser,

Oxford Institute of Social Policy,

University of Oxford


By analyzing the dynamics of family policy over the past three decades we can clearly identify a revolution within the OECD world. For the time period 1980-2008 we demonstrate that the Conservative welfare states of continental Europe, for a long time perceived as the most unlikely countries to implement ‘a modernised’ family policy, have indeed revolutionised their family policy approach, embarking on a trajectory towards a clear Swedenisation. Swedenisation can be understood as a process towards family policies encompassing comprehensive childcare services and (long) leave entitlements with high replacement rates. This analysis is based on Comparative Family Policy Database (Gauthier, 2010). Furthermore, we will identify the casual drivers of this process; among others we hypothesise that this revolution is largely due to: (1) a shift of public opinion towards the support of modernised family norms, (2) the role played by the employers, (3) the change in the political discourse, and (4) the degree of statism.