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Parenting and the life course from a cross-national perspective

This project is focused on the parenting phase of the life course and aims at documenting and understanding within- and between-country differences in fertility and parental investment into children including the role of policies.

The project uses a combination of micro and macro quantitative data, as well as qualitative data to study parenting. The project encompasses two subprojects. The first one is called “Families in the Middle” and consists in data collected from a small sample of families in five Canadian and two American cities in 2008-2010. The project is done in collaboration with Frank F. Furstenberg Jr. (University of Pennsylvania) and Shelley Pacholok (University of British Columbia - Okanagan) and was funded from various Canadian and American sources. It aims at understanding the daily realities of families with a middle-income, their perception of the role of parents, and their investments into children. The second project is currently under development and will extend the investigation of parenting and financial constraints to selected European countries. The aim is to better understand the role of national context in influencing family life and parental investment into their children including the role of the welfare state, labour market and societal norms.


Gauthier, A.H. (2015),
Documentation for the Families in the Middle (FIM) project. NIDI/ University of Calgary, 17 p. [URL]
Gauthier, A.H. (2015),
The financial situation of middle-income families in Canada and the USA: Background document to the FIM study. 10 p. [URL]
Davidson, R. & A.H. Gauthier (2010),
A cross-national multi-level study of family meals. International Journal of Comparative Sociology 51 (5): 349-365. [pdf]
Gauthier, A.H., T.M. Smeeding & F.F. Furstenberg Jr. (2004),
Are parents investing less time in children? Trends in selected industrialized countries.Population and Development Review 30 (4): 647-671
Sayer, L., A.H. Gauthier & F.F.Jr. Furstenberg (2004),
Social Class Differences in Parental Time with Children: Cross-National Variations. Journal of Marriage and the Family 66 (5): 1152-1169

NIDI Researcher

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