Comparative Policy Analysis

The IPUMS time use archive contains country-specific time use and socio-demographic data; the archive does not contain country-specific policies. However, the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) has archived a variety of country-specific policy variables that could be merged with the IPUMS files by country and year and used for comparative policy analysis. The data are publicly available for research use at The LIS Data Center.

Why might this be of interest?

The availability of data from countries with wide over-time variation in policy and demographic and social structures allows researchers to link policy with behavior change. For example, the increased labor force participation of women has been associated with reduced fertility in many post-industrial societies because of the conflict between work and family responsibilities [1,2]. However, recent data suggest that the association has been reversed in countries with greater gender equality and supportive family policies [3, 4, 5]. Eastern European states such as Hungary represent sociopolitical regimes differing from Western Europe [6]; these differences may, in turn, contribute to different daily activities. For example, although the former German Democratic Republic (GDR) promoted a version of gender equality that was rolled back in the reunited Germany, life styles, attitudes and values, and time use still vary across the eastern and western regions of that nation [7].

Along with Spain (already included in our MTUS system), Italy represents an interesting case in having the lowest fertility in Europe (1.2 TFR) and the lowest level of female labor force participation [3]. The gender revolution, while on-going in Western nations, is slowly developing in the Asian countries [8, 9, 10]. Future additions to our system of time use data from Eastern Europe (Hungary), Asia (Korea, Pakistan), South Africa, and Latin America (Brazil, Mexico) will enable researchers to conduct comparative studies of the gender revolution across the globe.


[1] Brewster, K.L., Rindfuss, R.R. 2000. Fertility and Women's Employment in Industrialized Nations. Annual Review of Sociology, 26: 271-296. [2] Raymo, J.M., Park, H. Xie, Y., & Yeung, W.J. 2015. Marriage and Family in East Asia: Continuity and Change. Annual Review of Sociology, 41: 471-492. [3] Cooke, L.P., & Baxter, J. 2010. "Families" in International Context: Comparing Institutional Effects across Western Societies. Journal of Marriage and Family, 72(3): 516-536. [4] Goldscheider, F., Bernhardt, E., & Lappegarde. T. 2015. The Gender Revolution: A Framework for Understanding Changing Family and Demographic Behavior. Population and Development Review, 41(2): 207-239. [5] MacDonald, P. 2000. Gender Equity in Theories of Fertility Transition. Population and Development Review, 26(3): 427-439. [6] Esping-Anderson, G. 2009. The Incomplete Revolution: Adapting to Women's New Roles. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press. [7] Hofmeister, H., & Baur, N. 2015. The Idealization of the 'New Father' and 'Reversed Roles Father' in Germany. Family Science, 6(1): 243-258. [8] Ji, Y. 2015. Asian Families at the Crossroads: A Meeting of East, West, Tradition, Modernity, and Gender. Journal of Marriage and Family, 77(5): 1031-1038. [9] Thornton, A. 2006. Reading History Sideways. Chicago: University of Chicago. [10] Jones, G. & Yeung, W-J. 2014. Marriage in Asia. Journal of Family Issues, 35(12), 1567-1583.