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GINI DP 10: Who Reaps the Benefits? The social distribution of public childcare in Sweden and Flanders

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  • Lancker, W. van
  • Ghysels, J.

Abstract

The main goal of this paper is to unravel the social distribution of childcare policies: who benefi ts 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 fi ne-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 fi nd 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Lancker, W. van & Ghysels, J., 2011. "GINI DP 10: Who Reaps the Benefits? The social distribution of public childcare in Sweden and Flanders," GINI Discussion Papers 10, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:aia:ginidp:10
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rickard Eriksson & Magnus Nermo, 2010. "Care for Sick Children as a Proxy for Gender Equality in the Family," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 97(3), pages 341-356, July.
    2. 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.
    3. Esping-Andersen, Gosta, 1999. "Social Foundations of Postindustrial Economies," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198742005.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 14(4), pages 457-480, August.
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