Completed research projects


The employment impact of parenthood in Spain, and on the use of social security schemes. Employment options for mothers and fathers living in households with under 3s

Beginning and ending date: 2008

Abstract: Men and women have different employment patterns after parenthood in all EU countries. While fathers tend to concentrate on paid employment, mothers have much more diversified patterns of behaviour, depending on the quality of employment, and on the parental leave schemes or social benefits available for families with newborn children. We shall quantify and characterise patterns of employment continuity and discontinuity: the use of leave arrangements and work-time reduction for childcare purposes; the use of unemployment benefits, contrasting the hypothetical uses and impact of these benefits as an alternative to the absence of paid leave; also the impact of tax deductions as employment incentives at this stage. This project focuses on households with children under 3 years of age for the time period from 1995 to 2005. It is based on a longitudinal analysis of the Continuous Sample on Working Lives (Muestra Continua de Vidas Laborales 2005), a database maintained by the Spanish Social Security Institution from 2004 onwards. The project is funded by the Spanish Research Fund on Social Protection (FIPROS, Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs).The final report will be available on the FIPROS website after the end of the project.

Participants: The research group comprises Anna Escobedo and Lara Navarro, under the supervision of Professor Lluís Flaquer.


Evaluation research into the use of leave arrangements and other measures for the reconciliation of employment and personal and family responsibilities in the public sector in Catalonia

Beginning and ending date: 2006-2008

Abstract: The purpose of the project is to evaluate the use of new measures to improve the work-life balance introduced in the Catalan public sector from April 2002 onwards. Data have been produced with the aim of monitoring the use of these new measures between 2003 and 2006 amongst the employees of the Catalan Government (140,000 employees in 8 different professional groups), and in order to obtain a characterisation of the use (length, etc.) and of the users (gender, educational attainment, etc.). The project is funded by the Catalan Government (Department of Social Action and Citizenship), which is due to publish a book at the end of the project with main findings and results.

Participants: The research team is composed of Anna Escobedo and Lara Navarro.

Participants: The research team is composed of Anna Escobedo and Lara Navarro.

Leave arrangements for working parents and informal carers in Spain: Evaluation and development perspectives in the framework of the European Union

Beginning and end date: 2006-2007

Abstract: A socio-demographic portrait of the use and users of leave arrangements covered by the Spanish Social Security system was produced between 1995 and 2005 (maternity leave, parental leave, and leave for the care of a dependant relative), based on a longitudinal analysis of a new database maintained by the Spanish Social Security from 2004 onwards: the Continuous Sample on Working Lives (Muestra Continua de Vidas Laborales 2004). The project was funded by the Spanish Research Fund on Social Protection (FIPROS, Ministry of Employment and Social Affairs), and its aim was to study and analyse the development possibilities of the public parental leave and family care system in Spain based on the experience with these kinds of social protection policies in other EU countries. The final report will be available on the FIPROS website.

Participants: The research group was composed of Anna Escobedo and Lara Navarro, under the supervision of Dr. Lluís Flaquer, with the collaboration of Dr. Carolina Gala, from the Department of Public Law and Legal-Historical Sciences at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.

The well-being of children: The impact of changing family forms, parents' working conditions, social policy and legislative measures (WELLCHI NETWORK) 

Beginning and end date: 2004-2007

Abstract: The goal of the project was to improve our knowledge about the impact of family transformations, parents' working conditions, family law and social policy on the well-being of children in a comparative European perspective. Eleven universities and research centres from nine European countries participated in the project, constituting a network to carry out research activities. During the three years the project lasted, nine events (six workshops and three conferences) were held in various European cities, and an international child well-being documentation centre was set up in Barcelona. The project was coordinated by Lluís Flaquer from the Institute of Childhood and Urban Work (CIIMU) and financed as a Coordination Action under the 6th Framework Programme of the European Union.


Institut d'Infància i Món Urbà (CIIMU)

National Centre for Social Research (EKKE). Greece

Faculty of Law. Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Department of Sociology. Göteborg University. Sweden

London School of Economics and Political Science.

École Nationale de la Santé Publique. France

The Centre for Research on Families and Relationships (CRFR). University of Edinburgh. United Kingdom

The Morgan Centre for Study of relationships and Personal Life. University of Manchester

Institute for Legal Studies. Bulgarian Academic of Sciences. Bulgaria

Norwegian Social Research (NOVA). Norway

Centre for Globalisation and Governance. Hamburg University. Germany

"The children of divorce: Family disruption and reconstitution"

Beginning and end date: 2003-2006

Abstract: This project was an offshoot from a previous one on "The crisis of marriage" -a joint collaboration venture between lawyers and sociologists. This was also a project financed by CICYT, in which various teams from the University of Barcelona, the University Pompeu Fabra and the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona participated. Its goal was the study of the outcomes for children of divorce and family reconstitution. The research carried out by the Iphigenia team focused particularly on the trend towards the democratisation of divorce and on the analysis of the characteristics of single-parent households in Spain.

"Formal and Informal work in Europe: A comparative analysis of their changing relationship and their impact on social integration" (FIWE).

Beginning and end date: 2002-2005

Abstract: The goal of the project was to analyse the processes of formalisation and informalisation of work in Europe, the role of various institutional and cultural contexts in this respect, and the contribution of informal work to social cohesion. The Iphigenia team specifically studied the case of Spain, and paid particular attention to the patterns of informal work in the family from a comparative perspective (care of children and other dependent persons, and parental leave). The project was financed under the 5th Framework Programme of the European Union and it was carried out by researchers from six countries (Finland, Denmark, United Kingdom, Poland and Spain) under the general coordination of Professor Birgit Pfau-Effinger, reseaecher at the Institute of Sociology at the University of Hamburg (Germany). Its main results, together with other relevant materials such as a series of discussion papers, can be found on the project's website. The publication of a comparative volume containing the most significant conclusions of the project is currently under way: Pfau-Effinger, B., L. Flaquer and P. Jensen (eds) (forthcoming). Formal and Informal Work: The Hidden Work Regime in Europe. London and New York: Routledge.

"The take-up of social benefits by immigrant women"

Beginning and end date: 2002-2004

Abstract: The goal of the project was the study of the use of social services by immigrant women in Spain. The fieldwork took place particularly in the cities of Madrid and Barcelona, where data on early education and care, health, housing and reconciliation between work and family were collected. This project was financed by the Instituto de la Mujer, and a number of researchers from the Sociology Department of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona took part in it. The main results of the project were collected in a volume published by the Instituto de la Mujer: Solé, C. y L. Flaquer (eds.) (2005). El uso de las políticas sociales por las mujeres inmigrantes. Madrid: Ministerio de Trabajo y Asuntos Sociales, Instituto de la Mujer.

"Crisis of marriage: Social trends and legal consequences"

Beginning and end date: 2000-2002

Abstract: This project was the outcome of the collaboration between researchers in the departments of private law of the University of Barcelona and the University Pompeu Fabra, and Iphigenia, under the supervision of Encarna Roca, Joan Egea and Lluís Flaquer, with the financing of CICYT. The structural determinants of marital disruption in the countries of the European Union were analysed, and data from a sample of separation and divorce court orders in Catalonia were collected. The results of the project were presented in three international conferences in August and September 2001: European Sociological Association (Helsinki, Finland; Research Committee 19 on Poverty, Social Welfare and Social Policy from the International Sociological Association (Oviedo) and the Spanish Sociological Federation (Salamanca).

Care Work in Europe: Current Understandings and Future Directions (CARING)

Beginning and end date: 2001-2004

Abstract: CARE WORK was a project funded by the 5th EC Research Framework Programme conducted by a team made up of research and development institutions from six countries in Europe, coordinated by Prof. Peter Moss at the Thomas Coram Unit (Institute of Education - University of London), with partners from Denmark, Sweden, Hungary, Spain and The Netherlands. It focused on the professional development of paid care work across Europe. The research was organised into three main stages: Stage 1 - Mapping and Review; which included statistical information and a secondary analysis of the European Labour Force Survey, descriptions and a definition of what care work is, and the kinds of care services available in each partner country; Stage 2 - Understanding of care work in theory and practice: the empirical phase of the project, with small-scale qualitative case studies in selected areas of care work. Stage 3 - What does the future hold for care work? This part of the project studied innovations in care work and developed responsive, interactive means for disseminating findings and facilitating cross-national exchanges. The project's objectives included:

1. Gaining a better understanding of how paid care work is conceptualised and structured, and its relationship to other services, such as health and education.

2. Documenting changes in the supply, demand for and use of care services.

3. Identifying innovative developments, new directions and the conditions necessary for improving care work employment.

4. Developing methods for the cross-national study of practices in human services.

Publications: All research reports are available in English on the project website, with summaries in all project languages (Spanish, Danish, Swedish, Hungarian and Flemish) plus Russian: CARE WORK.

Cameron, C. and Moss, P. (2007) Care Work in Europe: Current Understandings and Future Directions, Oxford, Routledge.

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