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  • 1.
    Eriksson, Helen
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
    Fathers and Mothers Taking Leave from Paid Work to Care for a Child: Economic Considerations and Occupational Conditions of Work2018Report (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    While most types of unpaid work have become considerably more equally divided over decades, child care that requires leave from paid work is still extremely gender specialized. Understanding conditions of paid work that can make leave-taking for both parents possible is crucial to halt the onset of gender specialization in couples. In this study, Sweden is utilized as a context in which the family policy constellation provides a real opportunity for both fathers’ and mothers’ leave-taking. The number of parental leave weeks taken by the father and the mother in the first two years of the child’s life is analyzed using administrative register data for 29,366 couples having their first child in 2009. Multi-level cross-classified models with each couple nested in 112 father and 111 mother occupations are used to estimate effects of conditions of work that have been hypothesized to hinder fathers’ leave-taking. Career costs, job insecurity and flexibility explained little variation in father leave. The strongest predictor was the father’s occupational skill level, i.e., the higher the skill level required for the occupation, the more leave fathers take. As would be expected from gendered norms and behavior and resulting gendered assumptions of care at the workplace, some of the conditions of work favorable for mothers’ leave-taking are not transferrable to fathers.

  • 2.
    Eriksson, Helen
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
    Studies on Parental Leave and Co-residence using Swedish Register Data2018Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Understanding the two primary life-course events that create and accelerate gender inequality within the couple -- the transition to parenthood and parental separation -- may ameliorate their far-reaching consequences over the life-course in multiple domains of life. This thesis includes four studies on various aspects of these life-course events. The first two studies investigate division of child care at the transition to parenthood. A gender equal transition to parenthood, in which both women and men take leave off work to care for their children, is essential for couples to achieve gender equality in the family as well as in the labor market. Study I investigates the ways in which Swedish couples do such ‘dual-caring’ and shows that the dominant trajectory of dual care is characterized by taking turns as the child’s primary caregiver. Study II investigates how the domain of paid work may hinder or facilitate a gender equal transition to parenthood, focusing on economic considerations and occupational conditions of work. Study III investigates gendered division of care leave taken after couples have returned to paid work. It shows that economic differentials within the couple may shape the onset of long-term division of child care but that short-term economic incentives do not seem to alter the division. Study IV turns to parental separation as the second life-course event in which gender inequality is accelerated. As children have been most likely to live with their mothers when their parents’ union ends, parental separation typically marks the (possible) second life-course event in which unpaid work is shifted towards women. Study IV provides a method for estimating parental separation with register data and therefore making possible studies of outcomes for mothers, fathers and children who live apart.

     

    All studies use administrative register data. These data provide a unique source of couple-level longitudinal information on all parental couples registered in Sweden. The first two studies are made possible by the availability of dated information on parental leave use. The third study accurately traces division of care leave by income composition within the couple. The last study traces parental coresidence from birth to age 15 for a period of almost four decades.

  • 3.
    Eriksson, Helen
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
    Taking Turns or Halving It All: Care Trajectories of Dual-Caring Couples2019In: European Journal of Population, ISSN 0168-6577, E-ISSN 1572-9885, Vol. 35, no 1, p. 191-219Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Interview and observational studies document that dual-caring is characterized by temporality. Two ‘ideal-typical’ trajectories are identified: ‘halving it all’ in which couples divide care equally on a daily or weekly basis and ‘taking turns’ in which parents take month- or year-long turns in serving as primary caregivers to the child. This study utilizes a new source of couple-level longitudinal information on parental leave to investigate dual-caring trajectories in contemporary Sweden. Results show that while care trajectories in which only one parent serves as the primary caregiver can be captured without longitudinal information, the dominant dual-caring trajectory cannot. In fact, despite a uniquely flexible parental leave system that allows egalitarian couples to share care on a daily basis, most couples do not share care in every point in time, but ‘take turns’ in serving as the primary caregiver to the child, with the mother’s ‘turn’ preceding the father’s. The results demonstrate that cross-sectional and aggregate measures of child care may fail to detect emerging trends in dual-caring.

  • 4.
    Eriksson, Helen
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
    The Gendering Effects of Sweden's Gender-neutral Care Leave Policy2011In: Population Review, ISSN 0032-471X, Vol. 50, no 1, p. 156-169Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The current gender-neutral care leave for care of sick children program in Sweden provides parents with a substantial number of publicly paid days per year. These are used when parents have to be absent from work to care for a sick child who cannot attend public child care. Although gender neutral from the start, women still take the majority of days. We investigate whether the existing policy design plays a role in the division of leave. We study the income cap in the program using individual-level register data for the years 2005 and 2006. We show that there seems to be a clear effect of the income cap on the division of leave: if only one partner has an income below the cap, he/she uses the majority of days. However, analyses of a policy change that raised the cap reveal no effect on the division of leave.

  • 5.
    Thomson, Elizabeth
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
    Eriksson, Helen
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
    Register-based estimates of parents' coresidence in Sweden, 1969-20072013In: Demographic Research, ISSN 1435-9871, Vol. 29, p. 1153-1186Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background: Many of the dramatic changes in family formation and dissolution observed in wealthy countries over the past 60 years are tracked through vital statistics or censuses. The signature change in family behavior -- non-marital cohabitation -- is not, however, registered in most settings.

    Objective: We evaluate the quality of new register-based estimates of parents' union status at birth and of separation during the childrearing years.

    Methods: Parents of a common child are identified through the Multi-Generation Register that links each child to each parent and therefore each parent to each other. The Total Population Register identifies the property at which each parent is registered at the end of each year. We use the five-year censuses 1960-1990 as one standard of comparison because the censuses identify the dwelling unit for each parent on the census date.

    Results: Property-based estimates of parents' coresidence compare very well to census reports. Register-based estimates are virtually identical with those produced from the 1992 Swedish Fertility and Family Survey; differences between register estimates and those produced from the 1991 and 2000 Level of Living Survey can be explained by differences in measurement of marriage and cohabitation.

    Conclusions: Estimates of parents' cohabitation based on annual, property-level registration are of sufficient quality for their use in substantive analyses of union status at birth and parents' separation in Sweden.

    Comments: Although register-based estimates of parents' coresidence at a child's birth or afterwards can be generated only for a select group of countries, their use can be fruitful for understanding more general processes of family change. Centralized administrative registers exist in many countries but have not been made fully available for research therefore losing much of the potential value.

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