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The Political Economy of Subsidized Day Care

  • Theodore C. Bergstrom
  • S�ren Blomquist

This paper presents a theoretical model of political support for the public provision of day care. In an economy where there are high taxes on wage income, sel sh taxpayers with no children in the day care system may favor substantial public subsidies to day care because such subsidies induce mothers to join the labor force and hence pay income tax. Our model makes explicit quantitative predictions of the relation between the distribution of wages, the income tax rate, and the subsidy rate for day care that maximizes net tax revenue from parents of small children. Applying parameter values from Sweden and the United States, we nd that our model predicts a subsidy rate of between 50% and 100% for Sweden with its high tax rate on wages and between 15% and 30% for the U.S. with its lower tax rate on wages.

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Paper provided by ESRC Centre on Economics Learning and Social Evolution in its series ELSE working papers with number 015.

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Handle: RePEc:els:esrcls:015
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  1. Boadway, Robin & Marchand, Maurice, 1995. "The Use of Public Expenditures for Redistributive Purposes," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(1), pages 45-59, January.
  2. Besley, T. & Coate, S., 1989. "Public Provision Of Private Goods And The Redistribution Of Income," Papers 36, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Discussion Paper.
  3. Blomquist, N. Soren, 1982. "Should educational expenses be deductible? : A comparison of tax bases in a model where education is a choice variable," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 65-83, June.
  4. Ribar, D.C., 1990. "Child Care And The Labor Supply Of Married Women: Reducted Form Evidence," Papers 9-90-9, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  5. Munro, Alistair, 1991. "The optimal public provision of private goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 239-261, March.
  6. Munro, Alistair, 1989. "In-kind transfers, cash grants and the supply of labour," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(8), pages 1597-1604, October.
  7. Ireland, Norman J., 1990. "The mix of social and private provision of goods and services," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 201-219, November.
  8. Robin W. Boadway & Maurice Marchand, 1990. "The Use of Public Expenditure for Distributive Purpose," Working Papers 796, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  9. Besley, Timothy, 1991. " Welfare Improving User Charges for Publicly Provided Private Goods," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 93(4), pages 495-510.
  10. Heckman, James J, 1974. "Effects of Child-Care Programs on Women's Work Effort," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(2), pages S136-S163, Part II, .
  11. David M. Blau, 1992. "The Child Care Labor Market," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 27(1), pages 9-39.
  12. Charles Michalopoulos & Philip K. Robins & Irwin Garfinkel, 1992. "A Structural Model of Labor Supply and Child Care Demand," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 27(1), pages 166-203.
  13. 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.
  14. Blackorby, Charles & Donaldson, David, 1988. "Cash versus Kind, Self-selection, and Efficient Transfers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 691-700, September.
  15. Atkinson, Anthony B & Stern, N H, 1974. "Pigou, Taxation and Public Goods," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(1), pages 119-28, January.
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