Putting the child-centred investment strategy to the test : evidence for the EU27
Faculty of Social Sciences. Sociology
European journal of social security. - The Hague
, p. 4-27
University of Antwerp
Under the social investment paradigm, a child-centred investment strategy has been developed. e mainstay of such a strategy is the provision of childcare services, which are expected to increase maternal employment rates, further childrens human capital and mitigate social inequalities in early life. In this article, I critically assess the child-centred investment strategy and question whether childcare services in European countries are, in their current state, up to the task of producing the anticipated bene ts. e argument I develop is fairly simple: in order to be e ective, childcare services should be provided for all social groups, and in particular for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Drawing on recent EU-SILC data, I show that in all but one country this condition is not met: childcare services are o en taken up at low or moderate levels, and children from low-income families use them to a much lesser extent than those from high-income families. In order to overcome these childcare de cits, countries should pursue a consistent investment strategy which entails increasing both the supply of childcare and employment opportunities for all social groups. is will require huge budgetary e orts for most member states.