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Social Investment or Gender Equality? Aims, Instruments, and Outcomes of Parental Leave Regulations in Germany and Sweden

  • Diana Auth
  • Hanne Martinek
Chapter

Abstract

In this article, parental leave reforms in two different welfare states and care regimes, Sweden and Germany, are compared in the context of varying paradigms: social investment and gender equality. Starting with theorizing these two approaches, we have developed an analytical framework of the overlaps and differences between them. Thereafter, we empirically analyse paid parental leave reforms since the turn of the millennium: the first, in Sweden, which is the prototype of a two-earner/carer model, and then in Germany, a (modernized) male breadwinner model. While gender equality aims dominate Swedish parental leave politics, the social investment strategy is more prominent within German policy debates. The actual design of policy instruments, however, shows less clear differences as the parental leave policies are influenced by a mixture of the two paradigms in both countries. In our conclusion, we interpret our empirical findings with regard to social policy traditions and trajectories.

Keywords

Family policy Sweden Germany Investive social policy Gender equality Parental leave 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Open Access This chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License, which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social WorkUniversity of Applied Sciences BielefeldBielefeldGermany
  2. 2.Department of GovernmentUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden

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