Strong Families or Patriarchal Economies? 'Familial' Labor Markets and Welfare States in Comparative Perspective
Luxembourg Income Study Working Paper No. 301
24 Pages Posted: 7 Jan 2003
Date Written: 2002
Strong family networks in Southern Europe are often credited with protecting people from poverty in circumstances where both employment and social benefits are limited. However it may well be that the economies frequently described as "familial" are more strongly patriarchal than other market economies, concentrating income in the hands of older, married men through both the labor market and welfare state, and creating the combination of weak welfare states, strong family networks, low female labor force participation, and the concentration of unemployment among young men. This paper uses Luxembourg Income Study micro-data to assess the degree to which the "familial" economies of Italy and Taiwan may be said to be more patriarchal than those of OECD countries with liberal, conservative and social democratic welfare regimes. A picture of two types of patriarchal economies emerges. The first is the familial economy and the second is the liberal, American economy where weak social welfare programs are combined with low wages for women and worsening market prospects of the young.
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