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Who reaps the benefits? The social distribution of public childcare in Sweden and Flanders

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  • Wim Van Lancker
  • Joris Ghysels

Abstract

The main goal of this paper is to unravel the social distribution of childcare policies: who benefits from government investment on public childcare? If childcare policies are mainly used by those already working, and (scarce) budgetary resources thus end up with the higher income brackets, genuine concern arises about the distributional consequences of childcare policies on the one hand, and its effectiveness as an instrument to activate mothers with young children into the labour market on the other. Answering this question is a complex endeavour, because one has to simultaneously take into account the (possibly income-differentiated) tariff structure of childcare services and private childcare costs (parental fees), government expenditures (subsidies to childcare providers) and tax concessions. In this contribution, we develop a fine-grained analysis to reveal the distributional impact of public childcare for two countries (Flanders/Belgium and Sweden) already reaching the Barcelona targets for under 3s and interpret the results in a European perspective. We find that, although both cases report high coverage rates, Sweden and Flanders have very different and even opposite distributional outcomes. Both examples provide us with valuable lessons on the redistributive nature of “new risk policies” and the effectiveness of childcare as an instrument of labour market activation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp in its series Working Papers with number 1106.

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Date of creation: Apr 2011
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Handle: RePEc:hdl:wpaper:1106

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Web page: http://www.centreforsocialpolicy.eu
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Keywords: childcare; distribution; expenditures; Flanders; labour market activation; services; subsidies; Sweden;

References

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  1. Mörk, Eva & Sjögren, Anna & Svalelryd, Helena, 2008. "Cheaper child care, more children," Working Paper Series 2008:29, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  2. Eriksson, Rickard & Nermo, Magnus, 2008. "Care for sick children as a proxy for gender equality in the family," Working Paper Series 1/2008, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
  3. Joris Ghysels & Gerlinde Verbist & Josefine Vanhille, 2010. "Taxing Care : enhancing the childcare time in the dual earner era," Working Papers 1001, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
  4. Esping-Andersen, Gosta, 1999. "Social Foundations of Postindustrial Economies," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198742005, September.
  5. Anna Brink & Katarina Nordblom & Roger Wahlberg, 2007. "Maximum fee versus child benefit: a welfare analysis of Swedish child-care fee reform," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 14(4), pages 457-480, August.
  6. Danièle Meulders & Jérôme De Henau & Sile Padraigin O'Dorchai, 2007. "Making time for working parents: comparing public childcare provision," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/7708, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Wim Van Lancker & Joris Ghysels, 2013. "Great expectations, but how to achieve them? Explaining patterns of inequality in childcare use across 31 developed countries," Working Papers 1305, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
  2. Sebastian Klüsener & Karel Neels & Michaela Kreyenfeld, 2013. "Social norms, family policies, and fertility trends: insights from a comparative study on the German-speaking region in Belgium," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2013-003, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  3. Wim Van Lancker, 2013. "Putting the child-centred investment strategy to the test: Evidence for the EU27," Working Papers 1301, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
  4. Tim Rie & Ive Marx, 2013. "GINI Country Report: Growing Inequalities and their Impacts in Belgium," GINI Country Reports belgium, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
  5. Verbist, G. (Gerlinde) & Matsaganis, M. (Manos), 2012. "GINI DP 53: The Redistributive Capacity of Services in the EU," GINI Discussion Papers 53, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
  6. repec:aia:ginidp:dp53 is not listed on IDEAS

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