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Work harder and have more babies? A political-economic analysis of the care economy: old-age provision (WORKHARDERMOREBABIES)
Start date: Sep 1, 2007, End date: Aug 31, 2008 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The object of the present research project is the crisis of the welfare state with a focus on old-age provision. This crisis is viewed as being essentially a manifestation of two shocks: the exogenous shock is the restructuring of the global economy; the endogenous shock derives from the family which has provoked the problem of demographic ageing since this is nothing less than low fertility rates. Second, women's changed role has provoked the problem of redistribution of paid and unpaid work in the economy. Since enhanced female employment rates mean that the household's traditional caring capacities are being eroded. These trends affect the contribution-based social benefits such as retirement benefits. The challenge of ageing population puts into question the maintaining of adequate and sustainable pensions.The political commitment to an enhanced labour market participation of women at the European level seems to engender a contradictory imperative at the individual level: to work harder in order to secure (private) provision for one's old age and, simultaneously, to have more children who will be able to sustain the public pension schemes once they are grown up. The interdisciplinary research proposal combines an economic analysis of changes that have taken place on the (world) market in the context of globalisation with an analysis, conducted from a political science perspective, of the reform of the welfare state and social change. Not that old age insurance should be regarded and tackled in isolation.The effect of a pension policy and its reform is closely intertwined with fiscal and labour market policy. However, the sum total of societal welfare derives from inputs of three institutions: State, market and family. Women's role in non-market-based welfare production is essential. The aim is to make a contribution to a new economic theory framework including a comprehensive gendered analysis of welfare state reform.
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