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

Listed author(s):
  • Michaela Kreyenfeld
  • C. Katharina Spieß
  • Gert G. Wagner

In westlichen Industrienationen besteht heute im allgemeinen ein Konsens darüber, dass die Betreuung in Kindertageseinrichtungen öffentlich subventioniert werden sollte. Weniger Klarheit besteht jedoch über die verteilungspolitischen Effekte der öffentlichen Förderung von Kinderbetreuung. Eine solche Unkenntnis über die Verteilungseffekte der öffentlichen Förderung von Kinderbetreuung kann jedoch dazu führen, dass Einkommensgruppen öffentliche Mittel in Anspruch nehmen, die dieser Gelder nicht bedürfen. Wie in einigen anderen europäischen Staaten werden auch in Deutschland bestimmte Anbieter von Kindertageseinrichtungen öffentlich gefördert bzw. die Kommunen betreiben selbst Kindertageseinrichtungen. Damit kommen den Eltern, deren Kinder Kindertageseinrichtungen besuchen, indirekt öffentliche Gelder zu, gleichwohl sie über Elternbeiträge einen geringen Teil der Kosten selbst abdecken. In dieser Studie untersuchen wir die distributiven Effekte der Förderung von Kindertageseinrichtungen in Deutschland, indem wir Mikrodaten auf Haushaltsebene mit Informationen über die öffentlichen Ausgaben im Bereich von Kindertageseinrichtungen kombinieren. Ein wichtiges Ergebnis der Analyse ist, dass über die gegenwärtige "Anbieter-Förderung" nur sehr geringe Umverteilungswirkungen erzielt werden. Vorrangig kommen die Subventionen im Bereich der Kinderbetreuung mittleren Einkommensgruppen zugute, was dem politischen und gesellschaftlichen Ziel, im Kindertagesstättenbereich insbesondere Kinder aus unteren Einkommensgruppen zu fördern, widerspricht. In general child care subsidies are widely accepted as a means to create equal chances for mothers in the labour market as well as for children. Although there is a general consensus that the use of child 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 child care subsidies. In order to assess whether public expenditures are targeted efficiently, it is, however, vital to know which social groups profit most from the public expenditures on children's day care and if tax-payers money is spent effectively. In Germany, as in other European countries, child care subsidies are mainly provided 'in-kind'. Local communities and NPOs provide child care slots for children, which are - except for a small fee - free of charge. In this study we estimate the distributional effects of state funded child day care in Germany using microdata of households and data on the expenditure of public funded child care. Major results are that child care subsidies only carry modest redistributional effects. In the first place, 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 child care subsidies.

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Paper provided by DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research in its series Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin with number 226.

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Length: 21 p.
Date of creation: 2000
Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp226
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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
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