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Abstract 3/3/2014 Can you stay at home today? The relationship between economic dependence, parents’ occupation and care leave for sick children

This is one of only a few studies on the division of care leave for sick children between parents in Sweden and the first to attempt to examine the importance of differences in parents’ work characteristics. The study uses register data for parents with children born in 1999-2002 to analyse two aspects of working life that may influence how parents divide care leave between them: The parents’ relative wages and differences in their occupations. First, the results show that a father’s share of care leave increases as the mother’s economic dependence decreases. This suggests that decisions about care leave are influenced by bargaining power gained through relative economic resources. Second, the resources of couples where both partners work in the same occupation are more equal than the resources of other couples. Their wages are more similar, and they also divide care leave more equally than couples where the partners work in different occupations. However, the fact that couples who work in the same occupation tend to share more equally does not seem to be explained by similarities in the partners’ work characteristics or by relatively low economic dependence of women, but instead may be explained by unmeasured, stable characteristics. Gender egalitarianism and greater possibilities for women in terms of career and wages are put forward as possible characteristics for couples working in the same occupation that may influence the way they divide care leave.

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Published by:

Margareta Wicklander