Family policy trends in international perspective, drivers of reform and recent developments

Willem Adema, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
Nabil Ali, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
Dominic Richardson, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
Olivier Thevenon, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)

This paper will first describe trends in some family and child outcomes, including fertility, educational attainment, female employment and child poverty since the 1980s and analyse to what extend there has been convergence in these outcomes across OECD countries, and how this could have affected policy reform. It will then summarize trends in family policies, such as child cash benefits, parental leave and childcare policy, and discuss how changes in policy relate to the pursuit of specific policy objectives. The third section of this paper will determine the extent to which changes in family policy have affected the trend changes in family outcomes, and how these effects may vary across groups of countries. The paper will conclude with a section that discusses the effect of the recent economic crisis on family policy, and illustrate how the policy response differs across countries. This section will include an analysis using tax/benefits models of the effect of the crisis on net income of families with two children over the 2007/2011 period.

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Presented in Session 36: Linking policy and demographic trends: European and international perspectives