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Publication details

JournalSocial Policy & Administration
DatePublished - Mar 1995
Issue number1
Number of pages16
Pages (from-to)10-25
Original languageEnglish


This article is concerned with questions about the amount of support given by welfare states towards the maintenance of a wife engaged in housework and child care. It compares the value of the support supplied by the tax/benefit packages of 15 countries. The article defines support for wifely labour as the difference between the net disposable income of a single persona nd a couple with the same earnings. In analysing the data, three models are used: the ''traditional'' model where the wife is economically dependent on her husband; the ''modern'' model where the wife remains outside the labour market while she has young children; and the ''dual breadwinner'' model where the mother of young children is in full- or part-time employment. Much of the analysis is concerned with patterns of social policy in which support for wives is associated with support for children. While the evidence shows that welfare states do provide support to wives, both with and without young children and engaged in paid as well as unpaid work, the levels of support vary greatly between welfare states. The variations are not associated with the generally discussed categorizations of welfare state types.

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