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Migrants' and natives' attitudes to formal childcare in the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany


  • Seibel, Verena
  • Hedegaard, Troels Fage


This study is one of the first to look at migrants' attitudes towards formal childcare, and the first one to do so by means of international comparison. The social investment strategy of the EU have, among other things, focused on expanding formal childcare to improve female participation in the labor market and to include children from disadvantaged backgrounds. The strategy has received a lot of positive public response, but the success of it hinges on support from the groups it targets, which includes migrants. We therefore tested whether migrants themselves share this positive view of the strategy. Using unique data from the survey “Migrants'he main control variables for each migrant group and th Welfare State Attitudes” (MIFARE), we compared the attitudes of nine migrant groups in three countries (The Netherlands, Denmark and Germany) with those of the native populations. We analyzed data in three different dimensions of attitudes towards childcare: (1) attitudes towards the organization of childcare (formal vs. informal), (2) attitudes towards public spending on childcare and (3) satisfaction with the provision of childcare. Drawing on theories concerning the effects of self-interest, gender values and country of origin, we postulated several hypotheses as to why migrants might differ from natives in their attitudes towards childcare. We found for the Netherlands and Denmark that migrants are less in favour of formal childcare than natives, though at the same time they ask for more public childcare spending and are more satisfied with the formal childcare provided than the native population. Results for Germany were more mixed. We also found that attitudes to formal childcare in the country of origin explain most of the attitude gaps between migrants and natives.

Suggested Citation

  • Seibel, Verena & Hedegaard, Troels Fage, 2017. "Migrants' and natives' attitudes to formal childcare in the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 112-121.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:cysrev:v:78:y:2017:i:c:p:112-121
    DOI: 10.1016/j.childyouth.2017.05.017

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rainald Borck, 2014. "Adieu Rabenmutter—culture, fertility, female labour supply, the gender wage gap and childcare," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 27(3), pages 739-765, July.
    2. Drange, Nina & Telle, Kjetil, 2015. "Promoting integration of immigrants: Effects of free child care on child enrollment and parental employment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 26-38.
    3. Erzo F. P. Luttmer & Monica Singhal, 2011. "Culture, Context, and the Taste for Redistribution," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 157-179, February.
    4. 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.
    5. Bea Cantillon, 2011. "The Paradox of the Social Investment State. Growth, Employment and Poverty in the Lisbon Era," Working Papers 1103, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
    6. Guo, Jing & Gilbert, Neil, 2014. "Public attitudes toward government responsibility for child care: The impact of individual characteristics and welfare regimes," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 82-89.
    7. Femke Roosma & John Gelissen & Wim Oorschot, 2013. "The Multidimensionality of Welfare State Attitudes: A European Cross-National Study," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 113(1), pages 235-255, August.
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