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Putting the child-centred investment strategy to the test: Evidence for the EU27

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  • Wim Van Lancker

Abstract

Under the social investment paradigm, a child-centred investment strategy has been developed. Mainstay of such strategy is the provision of childcare services, which are expected to increase maternal employment rates, further children’s human capital and mitigate social inequalities in early life. In this article, I critically assess the child-centred investment strategy and explore whether childcare services in European countries in their current state of affairs are up to the task of producing the anticipated benefits. The argument I develop is fairly simple: in order to be effective, childcare services should cover all social groups, in particular children from a disadvantaged background. Drawing on recent EU-SILC data I show that in all but one country this condition is not met: childcare is often used at low or moderate levels, and children from low-income families participate to a much lesser extent than children from high-income families. In order to overcome these childcare deficits, countries should pursue a consistent investment strategy which entails increasing childcare supply and increasing employment opportunities for all social groups. This will require huge budgetary efforts for most member states.

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Paper provided by Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp in its series Working Papers with number 1301.

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Date of creation: Jan 2013
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Handle: RePEc:hdl:wpaper:1301

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Web page: http://www.centreforsocialpolicy.eu
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Keywords: child-centred investment strategy; childcare; ECEC; European Union; inequality; social investment;

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  1. Wim Van Lancker & Joris Ghysels, 2011. "Who reaps the benefits? The social distribution of public childcare in Sweden and Flanders," Working Papers, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp 1106, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
  2. Janet Currie & Duncan Thomas, 1998. "School Quality and the Longer-Term Effects of Head Start," NBER Working Papers 6362, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Bea Cantillon & Wim Van Lancker, 2011. "Solidarity and reciprocity in the social investment state: what can be learned from the case of Flemish school allowances and truancy?," Working Papers, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp 1109, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
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  6. 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.
  7. Maria-Isabel Farfan-Portet & Vincent Lorant & Francesca Petrella, 2011. "Access to Childcare Services: The Role of Demand and Supply-Side Policies," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer, Springer, vol. 30(2), pages 165-183, April.
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  18. Michael Baker, 2011. "Innis Lecture: Universal early childhood interventions: what is the evidence base?," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 44(4), pages 1069-1105, November.
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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, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp 1305, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.

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