Grandparenting and mothers’ labour force participation: A comparative analysis using the Generations and Gender Survey
It is well known that the provision of public childcare plays an important role for women labour force participation and its availability varies tremendously across countries. In many countries, informal childcare is also important and typically provided by the grandparents, but its role on mothers’ employment is not yet well understood. Understanding the relationship between labour supply decisions and grandparental childcare is complex. While the provision of grandparental childcare is clearly a function of the social and institutional context of a country, it also depends on family preferences, which are typically unobserved in surveys.OBJECTIVEWe analyze the role of informal childcare provided by grandparents on mothers’ labour force participation keeping unobserved preferences into account.METHODSBivariate probit models with instrumental variables are estimated on data from seven countries (Bulgaria, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Russia and The Netherlands) drawn from the Generations and Gender Survey.RESULTSWe find that only in some countries mothers’ employment is positively and significantly associated with grandparents providing childcare. In other countries, once we control for unobserved preferences, we do not find this effect.CONCLUSIONSThe role of grandparents is an important element to reconcile work and family for women in some countries. Our results show the importance of considering family preferences and country differences when studying the relationship between grandparental childcare and mothers’ labour supply.COMMENTSOur results are consistent with previous research on this topic. However, differently from previous studies, we conduct separate analyses by country and show that the effect of grandparental childcare varies considerably. The fact that we also include in the analyses Bulgaria, Hungary, Russia and Georgia is an important novelty as there are no studies on this issue for these countries.
Report shows overall positive impact of mobility of Bulgarian and Romanian workers on EU economy
Source: European Commission
A new report published today by the European Commission highlights the overall positive role that mobile workers from Bulgaria and Romania (EU-2) have played in receiving countries’ economies. These workers have contributed to the skills mix as well as filling vacancies in sectors and jobs with labour shortages such as in construction and the domestic and food services sectors. Estimates also show a positive impact of the free movement of Romanian and Bulgarian workers on the EU’s long-term GDP with an increase by about 0.3% for EU-27 (0.4% for eu-15). Studies show too that there has been no significant impact on unemployment or wages of local workers in receiving countries: in the EU-15 studies show wages are on average only 0.28% lower they would have been without mobility of the EU-2. The report also highlights that there is no evidence of a disproportionate use of benefits by intra-EU mobile EU citizens and that the impact of recent flows on national public finances is negligible or positive.
Speaking to journalists in the margins of a conference in Vienna, László Andor, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion underlined the positive impact of mobility saying “Moving between countries offers real opportunities and economic benefits for both the host countries and the EU as a whole. We see that geographical mobility very much depends on the trends of the economy and where the jobs are”. He also expressed his strong desire to see all labour market restrictions lifted adding: “Restricting the free movement of workers in Europe is not the answer to high unemployment. What we need to do is really to focus our efforts on creating new job opportunities”.
Post-enlargement mobility may have had some economic and social costs for the receiving countries as well as for the sending countries that lose productive capacity. However, the Commission believes that while a part of these costs might be temporarily reduced by restricting labour mobility, in the longer term, labour market imbalances need to be addressed through specific policies. Evidence shows that the transitional measures have had a limited effect on the distribution of EU mobility and that flows are influenced more by factors like labour demand or language skills. The experience of the 2004 enlargement has also shown that restricting the free movement of workers can have negative effects, such as a rise in undeclared work.
The main destination for movers form Bulgaria and Romania was to Italy and Spain and data suggest that, at the end of 2010, twice as many Bulgarians and Romanians (2.9 million) were residing in the EU-25 compared to 2006. At the same time, in relative terms, EU-2 nationals resident in an EU-25 Member State only represent 0.6 % of the total EU-25 population. The highest share is in Cyprus (4.1%), Spain (2.2 %) and Italy (1.8 %). In addition, the EU-2 employment rate (63%) is close to that of the EU-25 (65%). However, since the economic downturn, recently arrived EU-2 nationals have found it more difficult to find a job: around 16% were out of work in 2010, compared to 9% in 2007. What is clear is that recent EU-2 movers have played a very minor role in the labour market crisis which is a direct consequence of the financial and economic crisis, as well as structural labour market problems.
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Railway Reform in South East Europe and Turkey: On the Right Track?
Source: World Bank
The railways of South East Europe and Turkey experienced significant declines in traffic volumes in 2009. This reflected the impact of the international financial crisis unleashed in the last quarter of 2008 and its contractionary impact on the economies of the region and elsewhere. Lower traffic volumes
translated in most cases into a serious deterioration of the financial performance of the state-owned railways. This brought home the costs of failing to implement essential reforms to improve the operational and financial performance of the sector when the economy was strong. In Romania in 2010, large-scale layoffs were announced at short notice for the state rail companies. The situation is similar for the Bulgarian state rail incumbents—they face an acute liquidity crisis, and will require additional state aid merely to keep running. The lesson of these events is clear: it is unwise to delay implementing state railway sector reforms during good economic times—because the consequences can be too severe if a financial downturn occurs before those reforms have been taken and properly implemented.
Country Specific Information: Bulgaria
Source: U.S. Department of State
Since joining the European Union in 2007, Bulgaria has continued to experience rapid economic development, especially in urban and resort areas. Tourist facilities are widely available, although conditions vary and some facilities, infrastructure, and services may not be up to Western standards. Read the Department of State’s Background Notes on Bulgaria for additional information.