Work-family conflict in comparative perspective: The role of social policies

Haya Stier*, Noah Lewin-Epstein, Michael Braun

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study focuses on the role of social policies in mitigating work-family incompatibilities in 27 countries. We ask whether work-family conflict is reduced in countries that provide family-friendly policies and flexible employment arrangements, and whether women and men are similarly affected by such policies. The study, based on the ISSP 2002, demonstrates considerable variation among countries in the perceived work-family conflict. In all but two countries, women report higher levels of conflict than men. At the individual level, working hours, the presence of children and work characteristics affect the perception of conflict. At the macro level, childcare availability and to a certain extent maternity leave reduce women's and men's sense of conflict. Additionally, the availability of childcare facilities alleviates the adverse effect of children on work-family balance for mothers while flexible job arrangements intensify this effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-279
Number of pages15
JournalResearch in Social Stratification and Mobility
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • Comparative study
  • Family-friendly policies
  • Social policies
  • Work-family balance
  • Work-family conflict


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