19 novembre 2019
(KULeuven & University of Konstanz, Germany)
Enforcing Solidarity or Promoting Self-Interest? How Welfare Policy and Regional Culture Influence Reconciling Grandparental Childcare and Employment
Previous studies indicate that intensive grandchild care reduces labor market participation and that this linkage varies by gender and between European countries. The underlying mechanisms at the contextual level, however, are still underexplored. I argue that two different logics, namely intergenerational solidarity and self-interest, are at work when grandparents make decisions about grandchild care and employment, and that the salience of these motives depends on the specific contextual configurations of childcare policy-making and regional norms with regard to gender roles and family support. Drawing on six waves from the Survey of Health, Aging and Retirement (SHARE), grandparents‘ labor market exits and working hours are analyzed using Fixed Effects models with interaction terms between time-varying childcare policy indicators for 18 countries and attitudes (taken from ESS and EVS) aggregated over 97 regions. Providing regular grandchild care decreases labor market participation for both genders, but this linkage is context-sensitive: For women, labor market participation is least likely where norms are strong and childcare-expenditures are high, whereas for men, it is least likely where both norms are weak and childcare expenditures are low.