Project leader

Ann-Zofie Duvander

Project details

Start: 2012 End: 2019

Funding source

Nordic Family Policy and Demographic consequences (NORDiC)” supported by the Research Council of Norway (217915/F10).


Description The Nordic countries have a long tradition of promoting gender equality through family policy, i.e. promoting female employment and addressing the gender division at home. The overall objective of this project is to advance understandings of the link between family policy and demographic behaviour (continued childbearing and family stability) and life-course earnings. The Nordic countries provide an excellent policy “laboratory” with similar economic, social and cultural conditions, and broadly similar policies that provide generous benefits to families. The project compares Iceland, Norway and Sweden, three Nordic countries in the “Premier League” of gender equality. 

Using unique research designs and sophisticated methods, the project will assess the causal effect of family policy on individual behaviour. Using comparative data from administrative registers containing individual life-course histories, this project will generate innovative pictures of the consequences of Nordic family policy. The project are concentrated around three outcomes of interest: (i) continued childbearing, including parity-specific childbearing; (ii) family stability, including both divorce from marriage and dissolution from cohabitation; and (iii) life-course earnings, including long-term individual earnings, gender-differences in earnings within couples, and the gender pay gap at the aggregate level. First, we will develop more comprehensive insight of the consequences of use of the parental leave policy on demographic behaviour and life-course earnings, i.e. the effect of individual take up of parental leave and the allocation between parents. Second, we consider the effects of specific changes in family policy, or so-called “critical junctures”, i.e. the introduction of the fathers’ quota within the parental leave policy and the introduction of the childcare cash benefit.

Last, we expand the analyses of the effects of family policy by examining the importance of regional variations and possible effects of cultural, structural and economic contexts. The project will make an important contribution to the intersection between demographic and policy research. The outcomes of the project will be met with great interest among both researchers and policy-makers and will have policy implications across Europe.