Male family careers: adapting to a new phenomenon

AXA Research fund


Researcher : Hiroko Umegaki

Duration: 2 years

This project is financed by AXA Research Fund in partnership with the LIEPP.

Description of the project:

The world population is ageing for two main reasons. In industrialized countries in particular, increasing longevity and declining fertility rates are rapidly shifting the age distribution of populations toward older age groups. Population ageing has progressed to such an extent that the supply of formal institutionalized care has become insufficient, making home care more and more indispensable. Moreover, the trend towards later parenting often increases the burden on family carers as they can face both child and elderly care at the same time, with such carers referred to as the ‘sandwich generation’. As part of Dr. Hiroko Umegaki’s long run research interest in middle-aged men as sons, fathers and sons-in-law, her project focuses on the risks that men in the ‘sandwich generation’, in their 30s through to 50s, face as carers of the elderly and of children. « We need to look at how caregiving impacts men in particular and at how they reconcile what is expected of them and their role as care givers » Dr. Hiroko Umegaki reports. Recognizing that research to date has mainly focused on female care givers, Dr. Hiroko Umegaki aims to build knowledge of male family carers. Her objective is to provide a better understanding of men in the sandwich generation, specifically of the risks they face in providing care as fathers and as sons and sons-in-law.

« Japan being a super ageing society, in which 31 % of carers are now men, the issue has long come forward. In that sense, the country is a step ahead of Europe», Dr. Hiroko Umegaki points out. Thus, Japan provides an important context in which to understand male family care givers involved with elderly care. For the sandwich generation, however, such pressures for elderly care occur in a family context with also pressures for child care: issues related to elderly and child care must be recognized as interlinked. In this regard, « France’s development of family policies, which were an important part of addressing declining fertility», represent important reference point for other countries. Thus, an important aspect of Dr. Hiroko Umegaki’s research is comparative, focused on Japan and France, which while challenging often dichotomised views of East and West contexts aims to lead to a better understanding of men as carers across generations in their families and the concomitant risks they face.

Drawing lessons from France and Japan

To conduct her study, Dr. Hiroko Umegaki will develop a comparative understanding based on fieldwork in Paris and Tokyo of middle-aged men involved in elderly and child care. To provide context for each phase of fieldwork, Dr. Hiroko Umegaki explains, she first focuses on understanding the relevant social conditions and policies that affect care provision for her informants. The project’s next step is to conduct fieldwork in Paris to understand carers’ main risks. Then, the research plans to move on to fieldwork in Tokyo, here again, to surface what risks Japanese male caregivers face and how they address them. Particularly,  Dr. Hiroko Umegaki will identify relevant everyday care practices, placing middle-aged men as carers in the context of their familial care relations as sons, fathers and sons-in-law.

« Demographically speaking, it is impossible that women be the only family care givers anymore », says Dr. Hiroko Umegaki. « Men are led to contribute now, and so we need a specific analysis of how caregiving impacts them ». By investigating this emerging phenomenon and the risks associated with it, her project contributes to addressing one of today’s most pressing issues. Focusing on influential France and super-aged Japan, her objective is to provide an understanding that can be applied to other industrialised countries. Her findings will help identify ways to prevents risks related to pressing care issues in contemporary societies.

The research group recent events:


Publications of the Research Group:

  • Clément CARBONNIER, Inégalités dans l'accumulation des différents types de patrimoine : le lien avec les inégalités économiques en général LIEPP Working Paper n°32, juillet 2014
  • Clément CARBONNIER, The influence of taxes on employment of married women, evidence from the French joint income tax system LIEPP Working Paper n°23, mars 2014
  • Clément CARBONNIER, Guillaume ALLÈGRE, Le coût par emploi créé, un indicateur incomplet mais utile LIEPP Working Paper [Methodological Discussion Paper] n°28bis, mai 2014
  • Clément CARBONNIER, Bruno PALIER, Michaël ZEMMOUR, Exonérations ou investissement social ? Une évaluation du coût d'opportunité de la stratégie française pour l'emploi LIEPP Working Paper , n°34, novembre 2014
  • Clément CARBONNIER, La réduction/crédit d'impôt pour l'emploi d'un salarié à domicile est-elle efficace en tant que politiques de l'emploi ? : Méta-analyse des évaluations empiriques, 1991-2007 LIEPP Working Paper n°30, juin 2014
  • Clément CARBONNIER, Michaël ZEMMOUR, Bruno PALIER, Tax cuts or social investment? Evaluating the opportunity cost of the French employment strategy LIEPP Working Paper n°31, juillet 2014
  • Michaël ZEMMOUR, Les dépenses socio-fiscales ayant trait à la protection sociale LIEPP Policy Brief n°12, mai 2014
  • Nicolas DUVOUX, Bruno PALIER, Contributions de Guillaume Allègre, Bernard Gomel, Dominique Méda, et Etienne Wasmer. Réactions de François Chérèque et Christophe Sirugue. Quelle réforme pour le RSA et la prime pour l'emploi? Débats du LIEPP n°1, octobre 2014
  • Clément CARBONNIER, Bruno PALIER, Chloé TOUZET, Michaël ZEMMOUR, Coût d'opportunité des politiques d'emploi en France: ce qu'on pourrait faire de mieux au même prix LIEPP Policy Brief , n°16, janvier 2015
  • Clément CARBONNIER, Bruno PALIER, Michaël ZEMMOUR, Contributions de Yannick L'Horty et Jean-Luc Tavernier. Réactions de Christophe Caresche et Alain Lambert. Faut-il remettre en question les baisses de cotisations sociales ? Débats du LIEPP n°2, octobre 2015
  • Emanuele FERRAGINA, A Matter of Size and Generosity: Assessing the Complex Relation between the Welfare State and Social Capital LIEPP Working Paper n°43, December 2015
  • Michaël ZEMMOUR, Economie politique du financement progressif de la protection sociale , LIEPP Working Paper n°38, septembre 2015
  • Clément CARBONNIER, Clément MALGOUYRES, Thierry MAYER, Loriane PY, Gwenaële ROT, Camille URVOY, Simon FREDON Evaluation interdisciplinaire des impacts du CICE LIEPP Report , septembre 2016
  • Clément CARBONNIER, Gwenaële ROT, Clément MALGOUYRES, Evaluer les impacts du crédit d’impôt pour la compétitivité et l’emploi (CICE) Policy Brief, n°27, septembre 2016
  • Jeanne LAZARUS, Yohann MORIVAL, Redéfinir les frontières du surendettement : Quel problème pour quel public ? Policy Brief, n°26, septembre 2016
  • Nathalie MOREL, Chloé TOUZET, Michaël ZEMMOUR, Fiscal Welfare in Europe: a state of the art , LIEPP Working Paper n°45, February 2016
  • Céline ANTONIN, Bernard COLOOS, Robert ELLICKSON, Michel TALY, Vincent TOUZE, Alain TRANNOY, Etienne WASMER, La fiscalité de l'immobilier en question Débats du LIEPP n°4, mars 2017
  • Elvire GUILLAUD, Michaël ZEMMOUR, Les quatre leviers de la redistribution LIEPP Policy Brief, n°31, juillet 2017
  • Julian L. GARRITZMANN, Silja HAEUSERMANN, Bruno PALIER, Christine ZOLLINGER , WoPSI - the World Politics of Social Investment: An international research project to explain variance in social investment agendas and social investment reforms across countries and world regions , LIEPP Working Paper, n°64, March 2017
  • Michaël ZEMMOUR, Elvire GUILLAUD, Matthew OLCKERS, Alessandro BORDOLI L'impact redistributif des modèles socio-fiscaux de la protection sociale : Analyse comparée internationale" Report , juillet 2017
  • Nathalie MOREL, Chloé TOUZET, Michaël ZEMMOUR, A Bismarckian Type of Fiscal Welfare? Insights on the Use of Social Tax Expenditures in French Social and Employment Policy , LIEPP Working Paper, n°65, March 2017
  • Sonja AVLIJAŠ, Revisiting the Baltic growth model: From neoliberalism to the social investment welfare state , LIEPP Working Paper, n°66, April 2017
  • Bruno PALIER, Philippe ASKENAZY France: Rising Precariousness Supported by the Welfare state LIEPP Working Paper n°74, January 2018
  • Clément CARBONNIER, Nathalie MOREL, Etude sur les politiques d'exemptions fiscales et sociales pour les services à la personne LIEPP Policy Brief, n°38, octobre 2018
  • Clément CARBONNIER, Clément MALGOUYRES, Loriane PY, Camille URVOY, Wage Incidence of a Large Corporate Credit: Contrasting Employee - and Firm - Level Incidence LIEPP Working Paper n°85, Mars 2019
  • Elvire GUILLAUD, Michaël ZEMMOUR, Victor AMOUREUX L'impact redistributif des modèles socio-fiscaux de protection sociale LIEPP Report Juillet 2019
  • Ito Peng, The Care Economy : a new research framework LIEPP Working Paper n°89, May 2019
  • Victor AMOUREUX, Elvire GUILLAUD, Michaël ZEMMOUR, Prendre aux riches ou donner aux pauvres? Les sources de la redistribution monétaire selon les pays LIEPP Policy Brief n°43, septembre 2019
  • Luigi BURRONI, Public policies, productivity and economic growth in OECD countries LIEPP Working Paper n°102, January 2020   New