"Women’s difficulties in reconciling their work and family responsibilities stand in the heart of current demographic explanations concerning low fertility levels and low labour force participation levels of women in western developed countries. Despite the growing involvement of men, women are still doing the lion's share of housework across the board. The current research suggests focusing on policy which was almost overlooked by current family-policy research. Such policy, whether deliberately or not, might reduce women's role incompatibility by providing incentives to households, to outsource housework. Why is it important that households will outsource housework? Should governments act to replace unpaid domestic production with market, state-subsidized or state-provided substitutes? Drawing upon policy research, as well as on demographic and sociological research, this multidisciplinary project aims at analyzing the role of the state in encouraging the outsourcing of housework by households, and the incentives of governments to embrace such policies. These research interests will be met in few stages, using both quantitative and qualitative methods: A broad review and compilation of policies that support or encourage the outsourcing of housework in different countries, over time; a content analysis and a typology of relevant policies; and the compilation of an original longitudinal database of countries, and the characteristics of their housework policies. This country-level information can then be used in large-N regression analyses to analyse the housework policies and their consequences for female employment and fertility. On the whole, this project is likely the first effort to provide a broad overview of policy tools used by different countries to encourage the outsourcing of housework by households. In doing so, this project aims to contribute to cutting-edge research on welfare states policy by suggesting a new framework of ""housework regimes""."
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