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Making time for working parents: comparing public childcare provision

Author

Listed:
  • Danièle Meulders
  • Jérôme De Henau
  • Sile Padraigin O'Dorchai

Abstract

Introduction Early childhood education and care differ substantially across countries. First, opinions diverge as to the optimal age at which children's socialisation should begin, that is, the age at which children should be cared for outside the family circle, and these differences are reflected in the way a country's childcare system is organised (Letablier 1998). Some countries emphasise the importance of outside childcare options being available for children from as early as the end of maternity leave onwards. Others are in favour of children being cared for in the close family circle when they are very young and do not focus on developing outside care until children are 3 years of age (and up to the age at which they enter primary school). Second, countries also differ as to the sharing of childcare responsibilities between the domestic, the public and the private sphere. In some countries, ‘having children’ is considered to be a private choice, so that parents have to pay for the cost of children. In others, it is considered to be a public matter, in which case the state helps parents maintain their standard of living when they decide to have children. As a result, the former countries rely heavily on market intervention, while the latter focus on making the public system as all-encompassing as possible. Governments can act on three levels to provide care for children and to avoid deterring dual-earner families from having children.

Suggested Citation

  • Danièle Meulders & Jérôme De Henau & Sile Padraigin O'Dorchai, 2007. "Making time for working parents: comparing public childcare provision," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/7708, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:ulb:ulbeco:2013/7708
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Julia Bock-Schappelwein & Rainer Eppel & Ulrike Mühlberger, 2009. "Social Policy as a Productive Force," WIFO Monatsberichte (monthly reports), WIFO, vol. 82(11), pages 845-857, November.
    2. Lancker, W. van & Ghysels, J., 2011. "GINI DP 10: Who Reaps the Benefits? The social distribution of public childcare in Sweden and Flanders," GINI Discussion Papers 10, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
    3. Jan Van Bavel & Joanna Rózanska-Putek, 2010. "Second birth rates across Europe: interactions between women’s level of education and child care enrolment," Vienna Yearbook of Population Research, Vienna Institute of Demography (VID) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna, vol. 8(1), pages 107-138.
    4. 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.
    5. Wim Van Lancker & Joris Ghysels, 2010. "Female employment, institutions and the role of reference groups: a multilevel analysis of 22 European countries," Working Papers 1002, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
    6. Wim Van Lancker & Joris Ghysels, 2011. "Who reaps the benefits? The social distribution of public childcare in Sweden and Flanders," Working Papers 1106, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
    7. Daniela Del Boca & Silvia Pasqua & Simona Suardi, 2016. "Child Care, Maternal Employment, and Children’s School Outcomes. An Analysis of Italian Data," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 32(2), pages 211-229, May.

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