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Putting the child-centred investment strategy to the test: Evidence for the EU27

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  • Wim Van Lancker

Abstract

Under the social investment paradigm, a child-centred investment strategy has been developed. Mainstay of such strategy is the provision of childcare services, which are expected to increase maternal employment rates, further childrenÂ’s human capital and mitigate social inequalities in early life. In this article, I critically assess the child-centred investment strategy and explore whether childcare services in European countries in their current state of affairs are up to the task of producing the anticipated benefits. The argument I develop is fairly simple: in order to be effective, childcare services should cover all social groups, in particular children from a disadvantaged background. Drawing on recent EU-SILC data I show that in all but one country this condition is not met: childcare is often used at low or moderate levels, and children from low-income families participate to a much lesser extent than children from high-income families. In order to overcome these childcare deficits, countries should pursue a consistent investment strategy which entails increasing childcare supply and increasing employment opportunities for all social groups. This will require huge budgetary efforts for most member states.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:hdl:wpaper:1301
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bea Cantillon & Wim Van Lancker, 2011. "Solidarity and reciprocity in the social investment state: what can be learned from the case of Flemish school allowances and truancy?," Working Papers 1109, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tess Penne & Irene Cussó Parcerisas & Lauri Mäkinen & Bérénice Storms & Tim Goedemé, 2016. "Can reference budgets be used as a poverty line?," ImPRovE Working Papers 16/05, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
    2. Rense Nieuwenhuis & Wim Van Lancker & Diego Collado & Bea Cantillon, 2016. "Has the potential for compensating poverty by women’s employment growth been depleted?," ImPRovE Working Papers 16/02, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
    3. Wim Van Lancker & Joris Ghysels, 2013. "Great expectations, but how to achieve them? Explaining patterns of inequality in childcare use across 31 developed countries," Working Papers 1305, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
    4. repec:eee:cysrev:v:78:y:2017:i:c:p:112-121 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Wim Van Lancker & Jeroen Horemans, 2017. "Into the Great Wide Unknown: Untangling the Relationship between Childcare Service Use and In-Work Poverty," Working Papers 1704, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    child-centred investment strategy; childcare; ECEC; European Union; inequality; social investment;

    JEL classification:

    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality

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