Work-Family Policies in International Comparison 

This course is designed to provide students with a comparative perspective on social policies that influence work and family in industrialized countries. The course will focus on how the recent evolution of demographic and employment changes (i.e., fertility postponement and decline, increase in life expectancy and women’s access to education and employment) is leading to different reconfigurations of welfare states. We will focus specifically on family policies that are aimed at equalizing social risks families have to cope with (e.g., parental leaves, flexible work schedules, part-time, early care education, elderly care, education). Our analysis will focus on the advantages and disadvantages of these policy choices on a range of outcomes including employment rates, career trajectories of individuals, demographic trends, poverty, child well-being, education, and gender equality. During the course we will analyze questions like: How policies aimed at equalizing mothers’ and fathers’ responsibilities at home and at work vary across countries and how does such variation modulate family and employment behavior? How investments in families and education policies can compensate for the unequal transmission of advantages occurred within families? Can we identify an optimal policy mix that will ensure both the socially desired level of fertility and investment in our children?

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