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Economics of Child Care

Economics of Child Care

EDITED BY David M. Blau
Copyright Date: 1991
Published by: Russell Sage Foundation
Pages: 208
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Economics of Child Care
    Book Description:

    "David Blau has chosen seven economists to write chapters that review the emerging economic literature on the supply of child care, parental demand for care, child care cost and quality, and to discuss the implications of these analyses for public policy. The book succeeds in presenting that research in understandable terms to policy makers and serves economists as a useful review of the child care literature....provides an excellent case study of the value of economic analysis of public policy issues." -Arleen Leibowitz,Journal of Economic Literature"There is no doubt this is a timely book....The authors of this volume have succeeded in presenting the economic material in a nontechnical manner that makes this book an excellent introduction to the role of economics in public policy analysis, and specifically child care policy....the most comprehensive introduction currently available." -Cori Rattelman,Industrial and Labor Relations Review

    eISBN: 978-1-61044-060-8
    Subjects: Sociology, Finance

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. About the Authors
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)
    David M. Blau

    Child care has attracted an increasing amount of attention in recent years from a wide variety of groups. As mothers of young children have entered the labor force in dramatically large numbers over the past two decades, sociologists, child development experts, advocacy groups, and policymakers have placed child care high on the research and policy agenda. Sociologists and psychologists have studied the social, economic, and demographic forces driving increased numbers of mothers of young children into labor force participation, the consequences for families and society of the need to provide child care during the mother’s working hours, and the consequences...

  6. 2 Child Care Policy and Research: An Economist’s Perspective
    (pp. 11-42)
    Philip K. Robins

    Since the 1960s, the labor force participation rate of mothers of young children in the United States has been rising rapidly. As a consequence, policymakers have increasingly turned their attention to child care issues. In 1987, for example, more than seventy bills (representing close to fifty distinct pieces of legislation) were introduced into Congress with provisions for child care. In 1990, the first federal child care legislation since World War II was enacted. While a major step forward, many feel there is a further need for federal involvement. Although child care issues are complex and wide ranging, they appear to...

  7. Comments on “Child Care Policy and Research: An Economist’s Perspective”
    (pp. 43-50)
    William Prosser

    I am honored to comment on this chapter. I have great respect for Dr. Robins—he is one of the first of the few economists who ventured into the field of child care policy analysis. He has been making significant contributions to this field for more than ten years.

    In reviewing this chapter, it is useful to make a distinction between policy analysis and advocacy analysis. Child care is a relatively volatile issue involving family, women’s rights, and child protection/development issues. Generally the national debate, as evidenced by testimony before the Congress, has been dominated by advocacy analysts.

    Policy analysts...

  8. 3 Public Policy and the Supply of Child Care Services
    (pp. 51-78)
    Tames R. Walker

    There is almost a complete absence of reliable statistical evidence on the operation of the child care market, yet one encounters a (seemingly) infinite supply of personal experiences when discussing child care. This and the emotive nature of children’s issues make policy discussions on child care spirited if unconstrained by objective evidence. A common perception held by many users and experts is that the child care market functions poorly. This paper evaluates this perception in light of recent evidence on the child care market and particularly on the supply of child care services.

    To make this evaluation, I link the...

  9. Comments on “Public Policy and the Supply of Child Care Services” A developmental psychologist’s perspective
    (pp. 79-86)
    Deborah A. Phillips

    The paper by James Walker focuses on supply issues in child care. He offers us a framework for analyzing the functioning of the child care market based on neoclassical economic notions of market imperfections. He acknowledges that, in most cases, it is a framework not yet filled in with data. But it is extremely useful in disciplining child care researchers to avoid generalized claims that there is a supply crisis in the child care market. Walker cautions that just as child care services are multidimensional—varying in type, quality, price, and reliability, for example—the components of aneffectivechild...

  10. 4 The Importance of Child Care Costs to Women’s Decision Making
    (pp. 87-118)
    Rachel Connelly

    The national debate on child care policy has identified three areas of concern—accessibility, affordability, and quality. Discussions of accessibility focus on the family’s ability to find appropriate child care. Many have argued that there is a shortage of child care options available to parents. Advocates of this position point to long waiting lists in child care centers and long parental searches to arrange care. A particular problem area appears to be the availability of infant care.

    The problem with the quality of care is that child-development experts feel that much of the child care available in the United States...

  11. Comments on “The Importance of Child Care Costs to Women’s Decision Making”
    (pp. 119-126)
    Sandra L. Hofferth

    The objective of these remarks is to put Dr. Connelly’s paper in a broader context by addressing four questions: 1. Why does she focus on how much mothers pay for child care? 2. What else is important? 3. What scientific evidence is there on the relationship to child care choice? 4. What remains to be done?

    Maternal employment and child care are clearly two important issues for policymakers in the 1990s. Welfare reform emphasizes moving mothers into employment as early as possible. In determining how much it will cost to train, educate, and employ mothers under the Family Support Act,...

  12. 5 Quality, Cost, and Parental Choice of Child Care
    (pp. 127-144)
    Ellen Kisker and Rebecca Maynard

    The groundswell of public concern with child care has been fueled by parents, child care providers, and child development experts. Parents claim that the supply of care, especially infant care, is inadequate and the cost is too high. Providers charge that child care worker salaries are too low to attract and retain enough high quality providers. Child development experts are concerned that we are underinvesting in children by not actively promoting the provision of quality and making high quality care accessible to all children, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

    Economic models of child care assume that there are predictable relationships...

  13. 6 The Quality of Child Care: An Economic Perspective
    (pp. 145-174)
    David M. Blau

    In the debate over public policy toward child care, the issue of the quality of care has been one of the most difficult to resolve. Following a long period of debate and negotiation, in 1990 Congress finally passed legislation that will substantially increase federal subsidies to child care. One of the main issues of contention in the debate over the new law was whether the new subsidies would be tied to regulations governing the factors thought to influence the quality of child care. Proponents of such tied subsidies argued that there is a clear link documented in the child development...

  14. Index
    (pp. 175-192)