Childcare services are increasingly regarded a major policy lever to combat social inequalities in early life. Yet, it was shown that inequality in the use of childcare services is the norm rather than the exception in European and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. As a result, social inequalities between disadvantaged and advantaged children are likely to be reinforced instead of being narrowed. The aim of this article is to conduct a macro-level analysis exploring which welfare state characteristics are associated with inequality in childcare use. We find that government involvement in the availability, affordability and quality of service provision is related to lower levels of inequality in childcare use. The results also suggest an impact of labour market opportunities and parental leave schemes. The findings contribute to a proper understanding of the institutional mechanisms underlying inequality in childcare service use.
Political actors across the globe often use the language of democracy, but they do not all use the same language. Drawing on content analysis of 1935 speeches given between 2000 and 2010, this study examines how five North African autocrats appropriated the global discursive form of democracy by altering its content. These leaders proposed that the special circumstances of each country preclude any one-size-fits-all global definition of democracy, whose imposition in their countries, they claim, would be inappropriate, ineffective, or dangerous. Through their speeches, these rulers redefined democracy by engaging in active ideological work, weaving together discourses that combined global norms, state interests, and local values. This suggests that, in addition to being a benchmark by which to measure modes of governance, ‘democracy’ is also a language game played between actors on a global stage. By synthesizing theoretical frameworks drawn from world polity and social movement studies traditions, this study shows that peripheral actors may adapt global discourses purposefully and strategically rather than encountering them as passive participants in a purely mimetic cultural diffusion process. This has implications for a wide range of global norms that are open to appropriation by local actors drawing on domestic and external political developments and experiences.
In this article, we analyse the relationship between integration policies and perceived intergroup threat across European countries. By distinguishing between several strands of integration policies and forms of threat (economic vs cultural), we attempt to shed more light on the mechanisms underlying the policy-threat nexus. We combine data from The European Values Study of 2008 and the Migration Integration Policy Index of 2007, resulting in a sample of 29,844 native residents in 27 countries, on which we apply multilevel analysis. The outcomes of the analysis reveal that respondents living in a country with more-inclusive integration policies – more specifically, policies aimed at labour market access and political participation – display lower perceptions of economic threat. By contrast, integration policies are not significantly associated with perceptions of cultural threat.
Memorial spaces can reinforce consensus or deepen conflict over the past. Memories of communism in Europe are particularly fraught mnemonic landscapes. Although they experienced the communist regime as a single country, Czechs and Slovaks now manifest very different political memories in public spaces with different levels of contention surrounding them. Through a media analysis (1993–2012) of events surrounding the 12 memorials addressing the communist past in the capital cities of Prague and Bratislava, this study generates a theory of differing levels of contention between societies with similar ‘difficult’ pasts. The Czech case is characterized by official and unofficial actors, who are cooperative or noncooperative, presenting often competing versions of the past through an individualistic, human rights-focused mnemonic frame. Slovak memory politics are less contentious, dominated by official memory actors, and interpreted through religion and nationalism. The collective memory literature lacks a way to understand when contention is more or less expected over a problematic past. I propose that when official memory actors privilege an individualistic mnemonic frame, contention becomes likely through the interpretations of unofficial memory actors, while a more collectivistic frame results in less contentious memory politics. In other words, the variation in mnemonic frame helps to explain why unofficial actors sometimes contest official representations of the past and other times leave them unchallenged.
This article examines the prevalence of household debt in middle and old age, in the context of rising consumption, the weakening welfare safety net, and the ‘democratization’ of credit. We aim to address theoretical propositions concerning household correlates of mortgage and financial debt, as well as the relationship between the two types of debt. We utilize data gathered on populations, aged 50 years and older, in 15 countries that participated in the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) project. We find considerable levels of mortgage and financial debt in advanced stages of life, as well as significant differences within and between countries. Controlling for country variation as well as individual and household attributes, we find a positive relationship between the size of mortgage debt and financial debt across most countries. We test alternative explanations for this relationship and discuss the implications of our findings in the broader context of the risks faced by older cohorts in consumer societies with shrinking welfare expenditure.
This study investigates the relationship between the division of household labor and individuals’ perceived fairness concerning this division. We applied multilevel multinomial logistic regression to analyze data on both men and women across 29 countries using the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP) from 2012 (N = 16,633). It was found that people who perform a larger share of household tasks are more likely to indicate that they do more than a fair share. Furthermore, we uncovered that in more gender egalitarian countries and in countries where women spend more time in the labor market, women and men are more likely to consider doing a larger share of housework to be unfair. Interestingly, when both country characteristics were included in the same model, we found that for women the effect of country’s female labor force participation lost statistical significance, while for men the country-level gender ideology resulted in a non-significant effect. Implications for future research are discussed.
Hundreds of millions of people live in weak states that are functionally incapable of protecting their citizens, yet few studies consider the implications of state weakness for human rights practices. Using data for 134 countries between 1984 and 2010, I construct a factor-analytic score of bureaucratic capacity and use it to analyze two categories of human rights: bodily integrity and civil liberties. Results from multivariate regression analyses show that bodily integrity outcomes improve as the quality and strength of a state’s institutions increase, independently of democracy and other key determinants. Bureaucratic capacity also promotes respect for civil liberties, but only in conjunction with executive constraints or competitive elections. When democratic mechanisms are absent, enhanced state capacity results in worse civil liberties practices. Supplementary analyses using instrumental variables rule out the possibility of reverse causality between bureaucratic capacity and human rights.
This article addresses three main questions through a comparative study of new Chinese immigrants in the United States and Singapore: (1) How do contexts of emigration and reception affect the ways in which new immigrants are tied to their homeland? (2) How do diasporic communities help members engage with the homeland? (3) What effects does transnationalism have on host-society integration? We develop an institutional approach to analyze how the state is involved in the transnational fields and how diasporic organizations serve as a bridge between individual migrants and state actors in transnational practices and integration processes. We find that new Chinese immigrants maintain emotional and tangible ties with China even as they are oriented toward resettlement in the hostland and that their transnational practices are similar in form but vary in magnitude, depending not only on diasporic positionality in the host society but also on bi-national relations. We also find that those who actively engage themselves in the transnational fields tend to do so through diasporic organizations. Finally, we find that homeland engagement generally benefits integration into host societies. These findings suggest that social forces at the macro-level – the nation-state – and at the meso-level – diasporic communities – are intertwined to affect processes and outcomes of immigrant transnationalism.
Worker self-management has proliferated at key historical moments, worldwide, since 1917. In the wake of decolonization and the national liberation movements of the mid-20th century, unprecedented levels were attained across the globe. By examining the major cases of worker self-management that began in 1952–1979 in the periphery and semi-periphery, I highlight the varied historical trajectories leading up to state suppression or absorption of worker self-managed firms. Management literature predicts that all states would respond more favourably to profitable rather than less profitable enterprises; Marxist approaches predict that socialist states would be more likely than capitalist states to favour workers’ control, and world-systems analysts would expect states in the semi-periphery to be more hospitable than states in the periphery to worker self-management. I show that none of these theoretical predictions are empirically sustained. Instead, I employ an inductive historical analysis and find that states are equally likely to terminate profitable and unprofitable enterprises, whether in socialist or capitalist states, and in periphery or semi-periphery. To explain this phenomenon, I propose an alternative theory – focused on social unrest and the balance of class forces – for states in the Third World having by and large called a halt to the experiment of worker self-management.
The world cities of Hong Kong and Singapore, former creations of British colonialism, gained prominence as global financial centers primarily from decisions of firms headquartered in the core of Europe and North America to base their senior management in Hong Kong for Asia-Pacific and Singapore for Southeast Asia. This study uses qualitative interviews with financiers in both cities to examine how they use their networks to produce financial services from core-contending centers in a regional economy containing mostly core-contending, semiperipheral, and peripheral countries. The results reveal that Hong Kong’s and Singapore’s financiers and their firms gain competitive advantages in producing financial services from their network exploitation of their access to sophisticated information, knowledge, and expertise about Asia.
Systematic research on world cities neglects immigration, despite its significance to world city formation. In this article, we test a foundational, but untested, premise of world cities research: that global centrality in the world urban system is associated with larger, more diverse immigrant populations. Using an international sample of cities, we conduct multivariate regressions of Benton-Short et al.’s Urban Immigrant Index on the Globalization and World City Network measure of advanced producer service firm centrality and two other measures of global urban centrality, controlling for competing explanations of international migration. Our findings reveal that cities that are more central to the network of advanced producer service firms have larger, more diverse immigrant populations than less-central cities. World cities are thus not only key sites for corporate control of the world economy, but they are also central in international flows of immigrant labor, as Sassen hypothesized nearly 30 years ago.
Mainly investigating the share of women in national parliaments, the vast cross-national literature on women’s descriptive (numerical) representation frequently overlooks women’s local representation. Yet, local councils are important political arenas. To what extent are women underrepresented there? What are the determinants of the variation of women’s local representation within and across countries? We investigate these questions through a subnational-level study, covering 272 regions in 29 European countries. Using multilevel modeling, we find that regions with high female labor force participation support for leftist rather than radical right parties and high degrees of urbanization tend to elect more women. Our results also indicate that high women’s representation levels at the national level trickle down to the local level.
This article examines the relationship between work experience acquired during higher education and post-graduation labour market outcomes in four European countries: Germany, Italy, Norway and Spain. A theoretical framework that shows in which institutional contexts work experience may be a ‘competitive advantage’ for young graduates is developed. In the empirical analysis, data from the Higher Education and Graduate Employment in Europe (CHEERS) and Research into Employment and Professional Flexibility (REFLEX) surveys are used to examine the effect of a typology of student employment (accounting for both length and coherence of work experience with the field of study attended) on several occupational outcomes 4–5 years after graduation. The empirical results show that, in Italy and especially in Spain, work activities during tertiary education are associated with better labour market positions after graduation: any type of work experience increases employability and reduces the risk of unemployment, and furthermore, previous work experience – especially when coherent with the field of study – decreases the probability of skill mismatch in future occupations. The effect of student employment, however, is smaller for most outcomes in Germany and negligible in Norway.
Nation-states worldwide are institutionalizing a culture of transparency and accountability. In our analyses of data reported in the United Nations (UN) Statistical Yearbooks since 1970, we identify two main trends: (1) national governments are providing a greater amount of data on a larger set of social, political, and economic domains, and (2) national governments increasingly offer such data in accordance with international standards introduced by the UN. In addition, we find that the overall cross-national trend toward transparency and accountability, as measured by the standard reporting of national accounts to the UN from 1970 to 2000, is driven by a unique set of factors in each time period. Specifically, domestic and economic conditions drove the trend toward transparency before 1990, whereas political factors have driven transparency since then. Throughout the period studied, the presence of links between a given country and world society has increased the likelihood that it will engage in transparent reporting. We conclude that active networking with international governmental organizations, such as the UN, teaches governments the norm of transparency, inculcating them with the rationales of public accountability and proper governance.
This study examines existing hypotheses on cross-national differences in immigrants’ labor market integration. Unlike previous research, which focused on Western countries, we study the occupational status of immigrants in both Western and non-Western countries. We use census data for 45 Western and non-Western destination countries and test hypotheses derived from human capital and discrimination theory applying multilevel modeling. The analysis shows that differences in immigrants’ occupational status attainment can partly be explained by pre-migration language exposure, economic advancement of the origin country, geographical distance, group size, and the religious as well as socioeconomic distance of immigrant groups and the majority population. Despite differences in the magnitude of effects, patterns of immigrants’ occupational attainment appear comparable between Western and non-Western societies. We do not find compelling evidence that human capital factors are consistently more important in Western societies.
Using a Tobit analysis, this article examines factors influencing asylum seekers’ filing of asylum applications and host countries’ recognition of convention refugees. From the views that stress socio-politico-economic conditions, we find that welfare-provisional and geographically close countries often become targets of asylum seekers, whereas politically secured and geographically remote countries have higher propensity to recognize legal status of asylum seekers. From a world polity perspective, we note that asylum seekers prefer the countries that have national refugee legislation, ratify more human rights treaties, and have greater international nongovernmental organizations membership, yet host countries – despite their linkage to the world polity – abstain from granting legal protection to asylum seekers, suggesting the possibility of a decoupling. This study contributes to both a more systematic understanding of global refugee movements and the ongoing debate on whether individuals and countries act strategically or are influenced by world cultural principles.
This study investigated subjective social position in 21 European countries using data from the social inequality module of the International Social Survey Programme 2009. Subjective social position shows people’s self-location in a social hierarchy. Most studies on subjective social position have typically involved a few countries and neglected the role of national educational and occupational structures. We hypothesise that these characteristics, together with national-level economic factors, modify the effect of individual-level characteristics on subjective social location. Our expectations are based on extended reference group thesis, the big-fish-little-pond and stigmatisation arguments. The results of multi-level analysis indicated that the extent of educational and income inequalities in society as well as occupational structures influence the importance of individual incomes, education and occupations for estimating social position.
The time dedicated to eating is changing. Although a tendency towards the homogenization of eating habits has been confirmed, the scarcity of comparative studies means that it is impossible to know whether the variations are occurring equally or with the same intensity in all countries. In this study, time dedicated to eating and cooking in Spain and the United Kingdom is analysed. Questions are asked regarding the decline in eating at home and the fragmentation of meals. An analysis is made whether different social groups behave in a similar way with regard to the time spent eating and to what extent the changes affect some groups more than others, generating greater social differences. In order to do this, official Spanish and British time-use surveys are used, and the data from two different time periods are analysed using multivariate techniques. In both countries, signs of convergence are detected, although the speed of change is different. Despite the convergence, the results also show that the changes in eating habits are not linear and are affected by moments of intense social transformation. Phenomena such as the economic crisis in the case of Spain affect the society and impose specific eating habit trends, generating new forms of social differentiation.
The cultural content of international human rights standards has inspired much discussion and debate, but cross-cultural levels of compliance with these standards remains understudied. Using Samuel Huntington’s controversial ‘clash-of-civilizations’ thesis as a point of departure, this article analyzes whether human rights practices differ systematically across dominant cultural and religious traditions, with a focus on two sets of rights: bodily integrity and civil/political. Net of standard political, social, economic, and demographic factors, countries identified as Western countries and Japan generally have better rated practices than other countries, but differences are especially pronounced with respect to Buddhist, Catholic/Latin, Islamic, and Orthodox nations. These countries are closely scrutinized by watchdogs such as Amnesty International, which might account for their lower human rights scores. Variation in human rights scores also tends to be durable over time; in contrast with Huntington’s thesis, the end of the Cold War mattered little for cross-cultural differences in countries’ practices. Finally, cultural and religious effects are more pronounced for bodily integrity rights than for civil and political rights. All told, the analyses offer little support for the clash-of-civilizations approach, insofar as it predicts increased cultural conflict over putatively ‘Western’ human rights standards.
This article analyzes the conditions under which ethnic minorities intensify or moderate their protest behavior. While this question has been previously asked, we find that prior studies tend to generalize explanations across a varied set of ethnic groups and assume that causal conditions can independently explain whether groups are more or less mobilized. By contrast, this study employs a technique – fuzzy-set analysis – that is geared toward matching comparable groups to specific analytical configurations of causal factors to explain the choice for strong and weak protest. The analysis draws on a sample of 29 ethnic minorities in Europe and uses three groups and two contextual conditions inspired by Gurr’s ethnopolitical conflict model to understand why some ethnic minorities protest more frequently than others. We find that two group-related factors have the strongest claim to being generalizable: while territorial concentration is a necessary condition for strong protest, national pride is a necessary condition for weak protest. The contextual factors of level of democracy and ethnic fractionalization, which are often emphasized in the literature, and the perceived political discrimination of a group, are neither necessary nor individually sufficient conditions for either strong or weak protest. Hence, they help understanding some cases, but not all, and only in combination with other conditions. Such causal complexity, inherent in the phenomenon of ethnic protest, underscores the need for a case-sensitive, yet comparative, approach.
This article is motivated by the idea that development and developmental hierarchies have been constructed and embraced for centuries by scholars and policy makers and have been disseminated among ordinary people. Recent research shows that most people have constructions of development hierarchies that are similar across countries. In this article, we extend this research by examining how basic social factors influence ordinary people’s beliefs about development and developmental hierarchies in six countries: Argentina, China, Egypt, Iran, Nepal, and the United States. Results show that the understanding and perception of developmental hierarchies vary by gender and education. These results are important because they show how distinct groups of people have differential access to information or ideas.
This article attempts to bring consumption into the study of redistributive politics. Analyzing data from 20 OECD countries over the period 1995–2007, I investigate whether factors that allowed lower and middle-income households to sustain their consumption had any impact on governments’ redistributive efforts. The article focuses on two factors in particular: access to credit and access to cheap imports (notably, imports from China). I argue that by enhancing consumption these mechanisms moderated the effects of income inequality and suppressed public discontent with increasing income inequality, thereby lessening the political urgency of redistribution.
Using data from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), we examine the association between parental involvement and student literacy in 21 countries. We consider how the nature of the association between parental involvement and student literacy varies in direction and magnitude across national borders and across multiple dimensions of parental involvement and measures of literacy. Across the 21 countries, we observe that, in general, increased social and cultural communication with parents is associated with higher levels of student literacy, although the association is most consistent in the area of reading literacy. Specifically, for students residing in eight countries (Australia, Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Norway and the United Kingdom), there are consistent reading literacy benefits when their parents engage in various forms of social and cultural communication. Consistently across all 21 countries, students have significantly lower literacy scores the more frequently parents assist with homework. This finding provides robust cross-national support for the reactive hypothesis.
This article addresses the question of whether globalization impacts individual preferences to exclude immigrants from national welfare systems (‘welfare chauvinism’). Intergroup contact theory and arguments from the ‘new cosmopolitanism’ debate suggest that cross-border social contacts (‘social globalization’) foster a willingness to include and accept newcomers. However, group conflict theory suggests that trade openness (‘economic globalization’) can unleash feelings of insecurity and trigger welfare chauvinism. While these approaches point in different directions, we argue that the impact of globalization on welfare chauvinism differs across socio-economic status groups. Using cross-national data from the European Social Survey 2008/2009, we find scarce support for the hypothesis that social globalization reduces welfare chauvinism in general. However, there is evidence that it diminishes exclusionary attitudes among those with relatively high socio-economic statuses. Moreover, we find no general evidence for an impact of economic globalization on chauvinism, but a positive interaction of intensified engagement with global market forces and higher socio-economic status.