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Money or Kindergarten? Distributive Effects of Cash Versus In-Kind Family Transfers for Young Children

Listed author(s):
  • Michael F. Förster

    (OECD)

  • Gerlinde Verbist

    (University of Antwerp)

Public support to families with pre-school children can be in the form of cash benefits (e.g. child allowances) or of “in-kind” support (e.g. care services such as kindergartens). The mix of these support measures varies greatly across OECD countries, from a cash / in-kind composition of 10%/90% to 80%/20%. This paper imputes the value of services into an “extended” household income and compares the resulting distributive patterns and the redistributive effect of these two strands of family policies. On average, cash and in-kind transfers each constitute 7 – 8% of the incomes of families with young children. Both instruments are redistributive. Cash transfers reduce child poverty by one third, with the estimated impacts in Austria, Ireland, Sweden, Hungary and Finland performing above average. When services are accounted for, child poverty falls by one quarter and poverty among children enrolled in childcare is more than halved. This reduction is highest in Belgium, France, Hungary, Iceland and Sweden. L’aide publique aux familles ayant des enfants en âge préscolaire peut prendre la forme de prestations monétaires (allocations familiales, par exemple) ou en «nature» (par exemple les services de garde tels que les jardins d'enfants). La combinaison de ces mesures de soutien varie considérablement selon les pays de l'OCDE, d’une composition monétaire / ou en « nature » allant de 10%/90% à 80%/20%. Ce document attribue la valeur des services à un revenu « élargi » des ménages et compare les facteurs distributifs résultant et l’effet redistributif de ces deux volets de la politique familiale. En moyenne, les transferts monétaires et en nature constituent chacun 7- 8% des revenus des familles ayant des enfants en bas âge. Les deux instruments sont redistributifs. Les transferts monétaires réduisent la pauvreté infantile d'un tiers, et les effets estimés sont en-dessus de la moyenne en Autriche, Irlande, Suède, Hongrie et en Finlande. Lorsque les services sont pris en compte, la pauvreté infantile chute d'un quart et la pauvreté chez les enfants inscrits dans les services de garde est divisée par deux. Cette réduction est la plus élevée en Belgique, en France, en Hongrie, en Islande et en Suède.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/5k92vxbgpmnt-en
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Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers with number 135.

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Date of creation: 11 Sep 2012
Handle: RePEc:oec:elsaab:135-en
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  1. Aaberge, Rolf & Langørgen, Audun & Mogstad, Magne & Østensen, Marit, 2008. "The Impact of Local Public Services and Geographical Cost of Living Differences on Poverty Estimates," IZA Discussion Papers 3686, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Jonah B. Gelbach, 2002. "Public Schooling for Young Children and Maternal Labor Supply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 307-322, March.
  3. Irwin Garfinkel & Lee Rainwater & Timothy M. Smeeding, 2006. "A re-examination of welfare states and inequality in rich nations: How in-kind transfers and indirect taxes change the story," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(4), pages 897-919.
  4. Levy, Horacio & Morawski, Leszek & Myck, Michal, 2008. "Alternative tax-benefit strategies to support children in Poland," EUROMOD Working Papers EM3/08, EUROMOD at the Institute for Social and Economic Research.
  5. Aaberge, Rolf & Bhuller, Manudeep & Langørgen, Audun & Mogstad, Magne, 2010. "The distributional impact of public services when needs differ," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(9-10), pages 549-562, October.
  6. Kakwani, Nanok C, 1977. "Measurement of Tax Progressivity: An International Comparison," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 87(345), pages 71-80, March.
  7. François Marical & Marco Mira d’Ercole & Maria Vaalavuo & Gerlinde Verbist, 2008. "Publicly provided services and the distribution of households' economic resources," OECD Journal: Economic Studies, OECD Publishing, vol. 2008(1), pages 1-38.
  8. Andrea Bassanini & Romain Duval, 2006. "Employment Patterns in OECD Countries: Reassessing the Role of Policies and Institutions," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 35, OECD Publishing.
  9. Francesco Figari & Alari Paulus & Holly Sutherland, 2009. "Measuring the size and impact of public cash support for children in cross-national perspective," Working Papers 024, "Carlo F. Dondena" Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (DONDENA), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi.
  10. Janet Currie & Firouz Gahvari, 2008. "Transfers in Cash and In-Kind: Theory Meets the Data," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(2), pages 333-383, June.
  11. Immervoll, Herwig & Richardson, Linda, 2011. "Redistribution Policy and Inequality Reduction in OECD Countries: What Has Changed in Two Decades?," IZA Discussion Papers 6030, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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