De Economist

, Volume 153, Issue 4, pp 399–423 | Cite as

Balancing Work and Family Life during the Life Course

  • A. L. Bovenberg


This paper discusses how work and family obligations can be better reconciled in EU countries by adopting a life-course perspective. It stresses that longer and deeper involvement in paid employment allows people to exploit their longer life to reconcile the two ambitions of, first, investing in the next generation as a parent and, second, pursuing a fulfilling career in paid work. Greater flexibility of working time over the life course requires more individual responsibility for financing leave. Moreover, rather than shielding older insiders through employment protection, labor-market institutions should enable parents of young children to easily enter and remain in the labor market. Finally, more activating social assistance and in-work benefits should replace passive income support for breadwinners.


breadwinner children fertility human capital life course retirement 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NetsparTilburg UniversityTilburgThe Netherlands

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