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Mothers, Markets and the State: A Scandinavian ‘Model’?*

  • Arnlaug Leira

Abstract

In Denmark, Norway and Sweden mothers of young children have a higher employment rate than have the mothers of other Western European countries. To make high quality childcare universally available is regarded as a national concern, and as part of the welfare state commitment. It is also often regarded as a precondition of mothers' employment. The modes of state intervention and the structure of child-care provision are basically the same in all three countries, yet this paper questions the commonly made assumption that Scandinavian reproduction policies are developed in accordance with one common model. The interrelationship between welfare state, market and family differs between the countries. While in Denmark and Sweden national policies supported the dual role of mothers in production and social reproduction, this was not the case in Norwegian policies in which the concept of the employed mother made only modest impact. Not surprisingly, Denmark and Sweden are more successful in approaching national aims for provision of childcare and also in facilitating mothers' labour market participation.

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Mothers, Markets and the State: A Scandinavian ‘Model’?*

  • Arnlaug Leira

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