The past three decades witnessed a strong policy emphasis on improving incentives to work and invest in skills. Many of the reforms were targeted at families with children, explicitly seeking to increase the take-home pay of mothers while reducing the costs associated with work. The growing attention to families with children accompanied key demographic and economic changes: the increasing proportion of women investing in education and participating in the labour market even as mothers of young children, the strengthening in assortative marriage on education and income, the drop in marriage rates among low educated men and women and the growing numbers of children living in single parent households with low income. These trends widened the economic divide between families with children and left an increasing number of families particularly vulnerable to economic deprivation and its long term consequences. Our research on this area aims to advance understanding of the drivers of economic inequality by relating it to skills, labour force participation, gender and family, and to assess the role of policy for families in mitigating deprivation and improve the long-term outcomes of children and their families.
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