Investing in Children

Investing in Children: Work, Education, and Social Policy in Two Rich Countries

ARIEL KALIL
RON HASKINS
JENNY CHESTERS
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 246
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7864/j.ctt127x3g
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Investing in Children
    Book Description:

    Investing in Children: Work, Education, and Social Policy in Two Rich Countriespresents new research by leading scholars in Australia and the United States on economic factors that influence children's development and the respective social policies that the two nations have designed to boost human capital development.

    The volume is organized around three major issues: parental employment, early childhood education and child care, and postsecondary education. All three issues are intimately linked with human capital development. Since both Australia and the United States have created extensive policies to address these three issues, there is potential for each to learn from the other's experiences and policies. This volume helps fulfill that potential.

    The authors demonstrate that in both nations, the effects of low family income and income inequality emerge early in life and persist. However, policies that increase parental employment, augment family income, and promote quality preschool and postsecondary education can boost children's development and at least partially offset the negative developmental effects of family economic disadvantage.

    eISBN: 978-0-8157-2203-8
    Subjects: Political Science, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-23)
    ARIEL KALIL, RON HASKINS and JENNY CHESTERS

    Australia and the United States are two wealthy countries with similar levels of income per capita.¹ Although they are both democratic nations that share some historical links, both being former colonies of the United Kingdom, their political institutions differ markedly. Nevertheless, though the institutional settings for the development of public policy differ, the two countries are actively engaged in many similar policy discussions. Discussions include employment policy for the low-income population; poverty policy and strengthening the safety net for low-income families; early childhood education policy; and policies to increase postsecondary education.

    The purpose of this volume is to present new...

  5. 2 Dynamics of Early Maternal Employment in Low-Income Families
    (pp. 24-47)
    REBEKAH LEVINE COLEY and CAITLIN MCPHERRAN LOMBARDI

    Recent social policy shifts in the United States have sought to promote maternal employment in order to improve poor families’ economic resources and self-sufficiency, support healthy family functioning, and promote child development. One concern raised in policy debates highlights employment among new parents. Contrasting arguments have been made concerning whether public resources should be used to provide economic support to new mothers to remain out of the labor force or whether a quick entry or return to work after childbirth will best promote economic and family stability. These debates are heightened when the target is low-income families, who often lack...

  6. 3 Family Joblessness and Child Well-Being in Australia
    (pp. 48-78)
    MATTHEW GRAY and JENNIFER BAXTER

    While the Australian economy has experienced an extended period of strong growth since the mid-1990s and the unemployment rate is low compared with that in most other OECD countries, Australia has a relatively high proportion of jobless families—that is, families in which no adult is employed. In 2007, 14.8 percent of Australian children less than 15 years of age were living in a jobless family; the corresponding figure for U.S. children was 8.0 percent, and the OECD average was 8.7 percent.¹ One of the reasons for the high rates of joblessness in families with children in Australia is the...

  7. 4 The Way Families Work: Jobs, Hours, Income, and Children’s Well-Being
    (pp. 79-99)
    LYNDALL STRAZDINS, MEGAN SHIPLEY, LIANA LEACH and PETER BUTTERWORTH

    Australia faces two potentially conflicting policy imperatives: maximizing the labor force participation of all working-age adults, including parents, as the population ages and improving children’s mental health and well-being by giving them a good start in life. We argue that to succeed over the long term, each policy goal depends on the other. Together, these goals raise the issue of how to combine working with caring for children in an equitable and sustainable way.

    Compared with the labor force participation rate among mothers in Canada, Finland, Sweden, France, and the United States, the rate among Australian mothers is low; in...

  8. 5 The Impact of Child Care Subsidies on the Quality of Care that Two-Year-Old Children Receive
    (pp. 100-126)
    ANNA JOHNSON and REBECCA RYAN

    A large literature suggests that high-quality child care in the first five years of life can improve low-income children’s readiness for school.¹ However, low-income parents struggle to afford high-quality care, spending a greater proportion of their income on child care than their middle- and upper-income counterparts² and experiencing lower-quality arrangements on average than their more affluent peers.³ To help low-income families afford child care, the U.S. federal government provides child care subsidies through the stateadministered Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF), now among the federal government’s largest child care programs.⁴ Although subsidies reduce families’ cost of care⁵ and facilitate parental...

  9. 6 Early Childhood Development and School Readiness
    (pp. 127-143)
    FRANK OBERKLAID, SHARON GOLDFELD and TIM MOORE

    Healthy child development is the foundation for community and economic development because healthy, competent children grow up to fulfil their potential and contribute to society in a multitude of ways. Despite our knowledge of the importance of early childhood and the increasing policy interest in early childhood, only limited data have been available in Australia to either stimulate or evaluate local effort. In this chapter we report on the national implementation of the Australian Early Development Index (AEDI), a population measure of early childhood development completed by teachers for children in their first year of full-time schooling. In particular, we...

  10. 7 Economic Inequality and Children’s Educational Attainment
    (pp. 144-167)
    MARY E. CAMPBELL, ROBERT HAVEMAN and BARBARA WOLFE

    The past three decades have witnessed substantial growth in the United States in economic inequality among families and the neighborhoods in which they live. For example, between 1980 and 2008, a standard measure of inequality in family income—the Gini coefficient—rose from .40 to .47, an increase of nearly 20 percent.¹ The income gains leading to the increase in inequality were largely concentrated in high-income families. In 1975, the income of households at the 90th percentile was 8.5 times that of those at the 10th percentile; by 2009, the rich family had 11.4 times the income of the poor...

  11. 8 Pathways of Social Disadvantage from Adolescence into Adulthood
    (pp. 168-207)
    KATHLEEN MULLAN HARRIS and HEDWIG LEE

    A fundamental paradigm in the social mobility literature reveals the persistence of social disadvantage both within and between generations. This literature examines how growing up in a disadvantaged family limits social mobility out of disadvantage as children transition from adolescence and settle into adulthood.¹ Research on intergenerational mobility examines changes in social status that occur across generations, focusing on the reproduction of social disadvantage from the parent to the child generation. Research on intragenerational mobility examines changes in social status across an individual’s life course, focusing on the extent to which social disadvantage in childhood remains intractable during the transition...

  12. 9 Poverty, Intergenerational Mobility, and Young Adult Educational Attainments
    (pp. 208-236)
    PATRICK WIGHTMAN and SHELDON DANZIGER

    Equality of opportunity has long been a distinguishing characteristic of the American experiment. Historian James Truslow Adams characterized the “American dream” as “a social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable . . . regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.”¹ Education has been the key to this conception of economic mobility. As early as 1779, as governor of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson proposed a “Bill for the More General Diffusion of Knowledge” that, had it passed, would have taught “reading, writing, and...

  13. Contributors
    (pp. 237-238)
  14. Index
    (pp. 239-246)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 247-248)