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Parenthood and social policy preferences: A gender and time sensitive examination

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Diana Burlacu, Dr Maarja LuhisteORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Attitudes towards social spending and welfare state have been characterised by one of the longest standing and widest gender gaps. Past research suggests that parenthood deepens this divide further. Yet, the exact relationship between parenthood and support for social policies – and the gendered nature of this process – has been difficult to establish because it can vary across welfare policy areas and the age of the children, which past studies, relying on cross-sectional data, have found difficult to unravel. Using panel data from the Swiss Household Panel, we examine individual level changes in fathers and mothers’ views towards specific welfare state policies. We find that individuals’ support for social spending fluctuates at different stages of parenthood, and that mothers’ demands differ from fathers’ in relation to care-related but not in terms of educational spending. This implies that social policies should not treat parents as a homogenous political group.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Burlacu D, Lühiste M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: European Journal of Political Research

Year: 2021

Volume: 60

Issue: 2

Pages: 255-274

Online publication date: 04/05/2020

Acceptance date: 20/03/2020

Date deposited: 31/03/2020

ISSN (print): 0304-4130

ISSN (electronic): 1475-6765

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1111/1475-6765.12400


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