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PopDigests are short, comprehensive summaries of research results with a link to the original publication (if accessible online).
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Sweden is often referred to as a role model when it comes to gender equality in general, and for its parental leave allowances in particular. Ann-Zofie Duvander (Stockholm University) and Mats Johansson (Swedish Social Insurance Agency) aim at determining the effects of three reforms introduced in Sweden between 1995 and 2008 on the division of parental leave days between the parents. Sweden first introduced parental leave with earnings-related benefits in 1974. The length of leave was extended in the 1980s to over a year.
More for women in retirement?
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Survivors’ pensions – pensions that are derived from rights acquired by the individual’s spouse – were a feasible solution to the problem of gender inequality in retirement and living standards in the recent past. But current increases in divorce rates along with a decrease in marriage rates, and the rise in women’s participation in the labour force that questions the “male breadwinner” model necessitate a change in the forms of redistribution, claim Carole Bonnet and Jean-Michael Hourriez from INED.
Good arguments for investing in health
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In many countries, health is distributed very unevenly across society, meaning that people with lower levels of education, occupation or income tend to have systematically higher morbidity and mortality rates. Beyond doubt, such health inequalities lead to economic cost. But how much? Johan P. Mackenbach from Erasmus University Rotterdam and his colleagues present the first data for the European Union.
Getting older without living longer
The western and the eastern parts of Europe have been persistently different in their demographic, economic, and social development. Nikolai Botev examines some of these differences and discusses their importance for the process of population ageing and intergenerational relations in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE includes the former communist countries).
What works for Immigrants?
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When it comes to family policy, childcare or gender equality, Sweden always ranks at the top and is viewed as a role model. The same is true for the country’s policies towards immigrants. Anja Wiesbrock from University of Oslo wanted to find out how successful those policies really are, especially when it comes to the integration of migrants into the labour market.
Our children – who cares, who pays?
Childcare has been more and more frequently included in European policy agendas; questions such as “who should care for children, how, how much and for how long” are at the centre of the policy debate. Chiara Saraceno seeks to contribute to this discussion by comparing current childcare policies within Europe. The author also reflects on the debate on childcare from different angles, including work-family reconciliation, equal opportunities between genders, and inequalities among children. By combining these three dimensions, Saraceno concludes that childcare is not a matter of a simple division between family care, more specifically mother’s care, and non-family care.
People and Emissions
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Even though the intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which includes more than 2500 scientists from 150 countries, is confident that population is one of the root causes of greenhouse emissions, there have only been a few studies on the actual input of population trends on climate change. Based on existing scientific evidence, Leiwen Jiang and Karen Hardee explore how demographic trends affect climate change and they try to find answers on how demographics do have an impact on both mitigation and adaptation, and they also discuss how policies could make a difference.
No war between generations
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“Population ageing is not only about older people,” says Pearl Dykstra from Erasmus University Rotterdam in her article “Key Findings from the Multilinks Research Programme.” Grounding their research on this key principle, Dykstra and her colleagues from Multilinks conducted innovative studies and brought forward new and unique insights on intergenerational relations in Europe.
More economic security – more babies
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European populations are shrinking in size every year. One reason for this is the decrease in births everywhere in Europe. However, within the overall declining trend, there are still huge differences between European countries when it comes to age at first birth and the number of babies per woman. Researcher Alícia Adserà is interested in finding out what accounts for those differences and what role unemployment rates and labour market conditions play.
Potential Job Killers
Increasing rates of children living below the poverty line have become a concern for most European countries. This risk is especially high for single-parent families and for families where both parents are jobless. However, little is known about the opposite relation: Does having children increase the risk that neither partner of a couple works? In a recent study, Juho Härkönen explores this question and the role of policies.
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