Female employment, institutions and the role of reference groups: a multilevel analysis of 22 European countries
Faculty of Social Sciences. Sociology
Antwerp :Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, 2010
CSB working paper series ; 2010:2
University of Antwerp
This article argues that the effect of policy institutions on female labor market participation is mediated by reference groups surrounding individual women. Using recent data on individual women between 20 and 49 years in 22 European countries, we distinguish between two types of institutions: public childcare availability and public sector employment. We hypothesize that both institutions are conducive to womens employment but that the effect differs across different social groups. More generally the analysis aims at the identification of good practices, i.e. countries that succeed in shaping women-friendly circumstances on the labor market. By means of a logistic multilevel model, we find that both public childcare and public sector employment are associated with higher female employment chances. We also find that women embedded in different reference groups behave differently on the labor market, that public childcare provision and public sector employment are helpful to raise the odds of employment for lower and medium educated women respectively. Finally, we observe that, ceteris paribus, non-urban areas shape better employment opportunities than urban areas.