I have defended my PhD ‘To whose benefit? An empirical and comparative investigation in the (un)intended consequences of family policy in the social investment state’ on May 25, 2014 at the University of Antwerp.
Starting from the concept of the Matthew effect and inspired by the work of Robert Merton, this dissertation explores the intended as well as unintended consequences of family policy measures in the social investment state. Two overarching research questions are addressed in an empirical and comparative way: 1) Who benefits from government investment in current family policy measures?; and 2) What are the consequences of government investment in family policy? The analyses show that the middle and higher-incomes benefit more from government investment for childcare services and parental leave schemes than low-income families. This is likely to counteract the social investment objective of mitigating inequalities in early life. A focus on income protection should be an indispensable part of any successful investment strategy.