The Family Working Time Model: Toward More Gender Equality in Work and Care

32 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2016

See all articles by Kai-Uwe Müller

Kai-Uwe Müller

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin)

Michael Neumann

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin)

Katharina Wrohlich

DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research

Date Written: July 2016

Abstract

Since the millennium, the labor market participation of women and mothers is increasing across European countries. Several work/care policy measures underlie this evolution. At the same time, the labor market behavior of men and fathers, as well as their involvement in care work, is relatively unchanging, meaning that employed mothers are facing an increased burden with respect to gainful employment and providing care. We propose a family working time model that incentivizes fathers and mothers to both work in extended part-time employment. It provides a benefit in form of a lumpsum transfer or income replacement for each parent if, and only if, both parents work 30 hours per week. Thus, it explicitly addresses fathers and – contrary to most conventional family policies – actively promotes the dual earner/dual carer paradigm. Combining microsimulation and labor supply estimation, we empirically analyze the potential of the family working time model in the German context. The relatively small share of families already choosing the symmetric distribution of about 30 working hours would increase by 60 per cent. By showing that a lump-sum transfer especially benefits low-income families, we contribute to the debate about redistributive implications of family policies. The basic principles of the model generalize to other European countries where families increasingly desire an equal distribution of employment and care. In order to enhance the impact of such a policy, employers’ norms and workplace culture as well as the supply of high-quality childcare must catch-up with changing workforce preferences.

Keywords: care work, gender equality, family policy, labor supply

JEL Classification: J22, J16, J38

Suggested Citation

Müller, Kai-Uwe and Neumann, Michael and Wrohlich, Katharina, The Family Working Time Model: Toward More Gender Equality in Work and Care (July 2016). DIW Berlin Discussion Paper No. 1603. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2822244 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2822244

Kai-Uwe Müller (Contact Author)

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) ( email )

Mohrenstraße 58
Berlin, 10117
Germany

Michael Neumann

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) ( email )

Mohrenstraße 58
Berlin, 10117
Germany

Katharina Wrohlich

DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research ( email )

Mohrenstraße 58
Berlin, 10117
Germany

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