Ideals or Compromises? The Attitude-Behaviour Relationship in Mothers' Employment
Posted: 9 Oct 2009
Date Written: October 2009
This article addresses the marked variations in women's employment that exist within and across countries, with a specific focus on mothers of children below school-going age. Using comparative survey data for 26 countries, it investigates the determinants of maternal employment behaviour with women's attitudes as important predictors, alongside cost-benefit considerations and the influence of national context factors. Results show that mothers' personal care attitudes are significantly related to their paid work involvement. Yet, multilevel analyses reveal cross-country differences in the predictive power of such attitudes. Stressing that neither women's choices nor their attitudes can in fact be taken as expressions of what their personal ideals are, observed attitude-behaviour relations are interpreted as the result of two underlying processes-the selection of behaviours based on attitudes and the adaptation of attitudes to match the chosen behaviour.
Keywords: labor supply, women, preferences, capabilities, social policy, culture, J22 time allocation and labor supply
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