IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

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


  • 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Spiess, C. Katharina & Kreyenfeld, Michaela & Wagner, Gert G., 2003. "A Forgotten Issue: Distributional Effects of Day Care Subsidies in Germany," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - German National Library of Economics, pages 159-175.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:espost:67389

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. David Blau, 2003. "Child Care Subsidy Programs," NBER Chapters,in: Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States, pages 443-516 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    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. Colm Harmon & Claire Finn & Arnaud Chevalier & Tarja Viitanen, 2006. "The economics of early childhood care and education : technical research paper for the National Economic and Social Forum," Open Access publications 10197/671, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    3. Marcus Dittrich & Wolfgang Gerstenberger & Beate Henschel & 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 - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 36, June.
    4. 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 1008, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
    5. Eiko Kenjoh, 2005. "New Mothers' Employment and Public Policy in the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Japan," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 19(s1), pages 5-49, December.

    More about this item


    Day Care; Distributional effects; Germany; Income groups;

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • D3 - Microeconomics - - Distribution
    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H4 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zbw:espost:67389. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (ZBW - German National Library of Economics). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.