A1 Journal article – refereed

Who Wants to Work More? Multilevel Study on Underemployment of Working Mothers in 22 European Countries




List of Authors: Milla Salin, Jouko Nätti

Publisher: MDPI

Place: Basel

Publication year: 2019

Journal: Social Sciences

eISSN: 2076-0760

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/socsci8100283

URL: 10.3390/socsci8100283


Abstract

This study examines underemployment of working mothers in 22 European countries.
Underemployed mothers are defined as those who wish to work longer hours than they are
currently working. Compared to unemployment and employment in general, the research tradition
of underemployment is less established. This article contributes to the existing knowledge on
underemployment in two ways. First, it focuses on a specific group of workers: mothers. Secondly,
while the vast majority of earlier studies has concentrated on single countries, this study is
cross-national. Using data from the 2010/2011 European Social Survey (ESS), a multilevel analysis
provides three major findings. First, underemployment exists in all countries examined, but the
prevalence varies significantly. Second, the prevalence and depth (i.e., how large is the gap between
preferred and current working hours) of underemployment are not necessarily correlated; a high
prevalence can be accompanied by shallower underemployment and vice versa. Third, at the
individual-level, underemployment particularly hurts mothers who are in a more insecure position
in terms of their economic and labor market situation. At the country level, underemployment is
related to a poorer economic situation and less-extensive childcare system.


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