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Can Government Intervention in Childcare be Justified?


  • Gillian Paull


Childcare is not like other goods and services. Its inherent nature creates unusual challenges for efficient delivery by the market, while its usage can have social as well as private consequences. Government involvement in childcare may therefore be justified to improve the efficiency of delivery or achieve social objectives, but its effectiveness will depend on whether policy measures can better address the challenges of childcare provision than the market. This article reviews the justification for the recent rapid development of childcare policy in the UK and considers the potential benefits and drawbacks of this growing government intervention.

Suggested Citation

  • Gillian Paull, 2014. "Can Government Intervention in Childcare be Justified?," Economic Affairs, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(1), pages 14-34, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecaffa:v:34:y:2014:i:1:p:14-34

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. repec:oup:revage:v:29:y:2007:i:3:p:446-493. is not listed on IDEAS
    2. James J. Heckman & Dimitriy V. Masterov, 2007. "The Productivity Argument for Investing in Young Children," Review of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 29(3), pages 446-493.
    3. Gillian Paull, 2006. "The Impact of Children on Women's Paid Work," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 27(4), pages 473-512, December.
    4. Datta Gupta, Nabanita & Smith, Nina & Verner, Mette, 2006. "Child Care and Parental Leave in the Nordic Countries: A Model to Aspire to?," IZA Discussion Papers 2014, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Tarja K. Viitanen, 2005. "Cost of Childcare and Female Employment in the UK," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 19(s1), pages 149-170, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Eva Lloyd, 2014. "Can Government Intervention in Childcare be Justified?," Economic Affairs, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(3), pages 402-405, October.
    2. Barrie M. Craven & James N. Tooley, 2016. "Safeguarding Children: Ofsted and Regulatory Failure," Economic Affairs, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(1), pages 64-79, February.

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