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A Forgotten Issue: Distributional Effects of Day Care Subsidies in Germany


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  • Spiess, C. Katharina
  • Kreyenfeld, Michaela
  • Wagner, Gert G.


In general, day care subsidies are accepted as a means of creating equal chances for both children and mothers in the labour market. Although there is a broad consensus that the use of children's day care should be publicly supported, there is no consensus on how this should be done. Moreover, there is little knowledge on the distributional effects of day care subsidies. In order to assess whether public expenditures are targeted efficiently, however, it is vital to know which social groups profit most from public expenditures on children's day care and whether taxpayers' money is spent effectively. In Germany, as in other European countries, day care subsidies are mainly provided ‘in-kind’. Municipalities and NPOs provide day care for children, which is - apart from a small fee - free of charge. In this study we estimate the distributional effects of state-funded day care in Germany using microdata on households and data on the expenditure of public-funded day care. Major results are that day care subsidies have only modest redistributional effects. Primarily it is the middle-income range that profits from the public provision of children's day care. This contradicts common public-policy recommendations, which state that low-income families should be the first target of day care subsidies. -- In westlichen Industrienationen besteht heute im allgemeinen ein Konsens darüber, dass die Betreuung in Kindertageseinrichtungen öffentlich subventioniert werden sollte. Weniger Klarheit besteht jedoch über die verteilungspolitischen Effekte der öffentlichen Förderung von Kinderbetreuung. Eine solche Unkenntnis über die Verteilungseffekte der öffentlichen Förderung von Kinderbetreuung kann jedoch dazu führen, dass Einkommensgruppen öffentliche Mittel in Anspruch nehmen, die dieser Gelder nicht bedürfen. Wie in einigen anderen europäischen Staaten werden auch in Deutschland bestimmte Anbieter von Kindertageseinrichtungen öffentlich gefördert bzw. die Kommunen betreiben selbst Kindertageseinrichtungen. Damit kommen den Eltern, deren Kinder Kindertageseinrichtungen besuchen, indirekt öffentliche Gelder zu, gleichwohl sie über Elternbeiträge einen geringen Teil der Kosten selbst abdecken. In dieser Studie untersuchen wir die distributiven Effekte der Förderung von Kindertageseinrichtungen in Deutschland, indem wir Mikrodaten auf Haushaltsebene mit Informationen über die öffentlichen Ausgaben im Bereich von Kindertageseinrichtungen kombinieren. Ein wichtiges Ergebnis der Analyse ist, dass über die gegenwärtige „Anbieter-Förderung“ nur sehr geringe Umverteilungswirkungen erzielt werden. Vorrangig kommen die Subventionen im Bereich der Kinderbetreuung mittleren Einkommensgruppen zugute, was dem politischen und gesellschaftlichen Ziel, im Kindertagesstättenbereich insbesondere Kinder aus unteren Einkommensgruppen zu fördern, widerspricht.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by ZBW - German National Library of Economics in its journal EconStor Open Access Articles.

Volume (Year): (2003)
Issue (Month): ()
Pages: 159-175

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Handle: RePEc:zbw:espost:67389

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Keywords: Day Care; Distributional effects; Germany; Income groups;

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  1. David M. Blau, 2000. "Child Care Subsidy Programs," NBER Working Papers 7806, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Siv Gustafsson & Frank Stafford, 1992. "Child Care Subsidies and Labor Supply in Sweden," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 27(1), pages 204-230.
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Cited by:
  1. World Bank, 2007. "Chile - County Gender Assessment : Expanding Women's Work Choices to Enhance Chile's Economic Potential," World Bank Other Operational Studies 7639, The World Bank.
  2. Joris Ghysels & Wim Van Lancker, 2010. "The unequal benefits of family activation: an analysis of the social distribution of family policy among families with young children," Working Papers, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp 1008, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
  3. Marcus Dittrich & Wolfgang Gerstenberger & Beate Grundig & Gunther Markwardt & Carsten Pohl & Heinz Schmalholz & Marcel Thum, 2004. "Demographische Entwicklung im Freistaat Sachsen : Analyse und Strategien zum Bevölkerungsrückgang auf dem Arbeitsmarkt ; Gutachten im Auftrag der Sächsischen Staatskanzlei," ifo Dresden Studien, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 36, October.


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