Working Mothers and the State: Under Which Conditions do governments spend much on maternal employment supporting policies?

K. Koole, B. Vis

Research output: Working paperAcademic

Abstract

Over the last years, the level of spending on maternal employment supporting policies has risen in most countries. Still, the variation across governments in this level is substantial. Under which conditions do governments spend relatively much? Drawing on the critical mass literature, we argue that a critical mass of at least 15 per cent of women legislators is a necessary condition for high levels of spending on an important maternal employment supporting policy: parental leave benefits. We test this hypothesis with a fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) of the
governments from 12 OECD countries between 1980 and 2003 (n = 55). The analysis shows that a critical mass of women legislators is indeed a necessary condition for high levels of spending on parental leave benefits. This condition is not sufficient for high spending, though. We find that a critical mass is sufficient for high levels of spending when combined with leftist partisanship, economic growth and economic openness. These conditions are thus all INUS conditions: Insufficient but Non-redundant parts of an Unnecessary but Sufficient (combination of) condition. Additionally, we identify another route towards high spending in which a critical mass
is combined with rightist partisanship, the absence of openness and corporatism. By assessing the influence of a critical mass of women in combination with other conditions on an important policy supporting the level of maternal employment, this study contributes to the comparative welfare state literature in general and the literature on new social risks in particular.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLouvain-la-Neuve
PublisherCompasss
Number of pages34
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Publication series

NameCompasss Working Paper Series
No.2012-71

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