Title
Who benefits? The social distribution of subsidized childcare in Sweden and Flanders Who benefits? The social distribution of subsidized childcare in Sweden and Flanders
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Social Sciences. Sociology
Publication type
article
Publication
Copenhagen ,
Subject
Sociology
Source (journal)
Acta sociologica : journal of the Scandinavian Sociological Association. - Copenhagen, 1955, currens
Volume/pages
55(2012) :2 , p. 125-142
ISSN
0001-6993
1502-3869
ISI
000303833000002
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
The main goal of this article is to unravel the social distribution of childcare policies: Who benefits from government investment in public childcare? The analysis complements earlier research on the distribution of social policy outcomes and confronts the growing concern over selectivity. By nature, childcare services tend to be used mainly by people in work, i.e. those in higher income brackets. Concern therefore arises about the consequences of increasing childcare budgets for the overall distribution of the benefits of social policy. This relates to the immediate outcome of social policy (net family income), but also to its increasingly central component: labour market participation. Indeed, if childcare actually benefits labour market insiders only, one may wonder whether it is effective as an instrument activating mothers with young children. In this contribution, we look into the distributional impact of subsidized childcare for two countries (Flanders/Belgium and Sweden) already reaching the Barcelona targets for under 3s and interpret the results in a European perspective. Although both cases report high coverage rates, we find that Sweden and Flanders have different even opposite distributional outcomes. Both examples provide us with valuable lessons on the redistributive nature of new risk policies and the effectiveness of childcare as an instrument of labour market activation.
E-info
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