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Child care, asili nido e modelli di welfare


  • Paolo Bosi


  • Paolo Silvestri



The paper presents a model of the market for early child care services, where the preferences of households and local government are influenced by relative prices, disposable income and cost conditions, as well as «social norms» such as the attitude to working women and the value assigned to the educational (as well as supervisory) role of institutional child care. A simple partial equilibrium model describes alternative outcomes in the allocation of private and public provision. In the case of the latter the allocation scheme could be influenced by the welfare model adopted by local governments: this could explain their paternalistic policies and may lead to conflict with the motivations of households, which may be affected by the «consolidation of needs» induced by a long tradition of public provision at prices lower than average costs. Moreover public budget constraints interfere with the diverging attitudes of the various players by introducing rationing schemes and redistributive goals that reduce «market» transparency. The empirical importance of the «non economic» motivations referred to above therefore seems to make them a major issue to be considered when evaluating the allocation process. Using a survey on economic and social conditions of the households in the province of Modena in 2006, which directly surveys the willingness to pay for child care services, the second part of the paper explores the demand for early child care through an econometric estimation of the reservation price with particular attention to «economic» and «non economic» determinants. There are complex relationships between the motivations of local government and households: the paternalistic behaviour of public providers is clear from their supply and price strategies; on the other hand, households seem to be affected by a form of needs consolidation which is a barrier to the correct evaluation of the costs and benefits of services, and by a greater focus on mere «child-minding». The tensions between the different attitudes of households and local governments reflects the different welfare models which implicitly underlie their behaviour. This points to the need for a more explicit dialogue between local governments and citizens on the costs and benefits of the services involved, to improve the transparency of this «market».

Suggested Citation

  • Paolo Bosi & Paolo Silvestri, 2008. "Child care, asili nido e modelli di welfare," Department of Economics 0602, University of Modena and Reggio E., Faculty of Economics "Marco Biagi".
  • Handle: RePEc:mod:depeco:0602

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Pazner, Elisha A, 1972. "Merit Wants and the Theory of Taxation," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 27(4), pages 460-472.
    2. Blomquist, Soren & Micheletto, Luca, 2006. "Optimal redistributive taxation when government's and agents' preferences differ," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(6-7), pages 1215-1233, August.
    3. Tom Kornstad & Thor Thoresen, 2007. "A discrete choice model for labor supply and childcare," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 20(4), pages 781-803, October.
    4. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1991. "Public Provision of Private Goods and the Redistribution of Income," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 979-984, September.
    5. Daniela Del Boca & Daniela Vuri, 2007. "The mismatch between employment and child care in Italy: the impact of rationing," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 20(4), pages 805-832, October.
    6. Miguel Gouveia, 1997. "Majority rule and the public provision of a private good," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 93(3), pages 221-244, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ylenia Brilli, 2012. "Public and parental investments in children. Evidence from the literature on non-parental child care," CHILD Working Papers Series 6, Centre for Household, Income, Labour and Demographic Economics (CHILD) - CCA.

    More about this item


    child care; merit goods; willingness to pay;

    JEL classification:

    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs


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