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Blau, David M. (2003). Child Care Subsidies as Social Policy. CESifo DICE Report(4), 3-7.


Labor force participation by mothers of young children (ages 0 to 5) more than doubled in the United States from 30 percent in 1970 to 63 percent in 2000. Similar trends in many other countries raise the questions of who will take care of children while parents work and how such child care should be financed. Child care is thus an issue of considerable interest to families, employers and policy makers. Among high-income countries, the United States is an outlier in its child care policy, as in many other areas of social policy. Many European countries include publicly provided and heavily subsidized child care in a portfolio of policies that provide support for families with young children. There is significant public funding of child care in the US, although much less in per-child terms than in Japan and Europe, but it occurs in the context of a market for child care that is the main institution through which child care arrangements are made. Child care markets appear to be much more limited in most
other high-income societies. A large majority of child care arrangements in Europe are in public preschools such as ecoles maternelles in France and scuola materna in Italy. In those countries, even homebased family day care providers are often part of
networks that receive substantial public funding and technical assistance (Waldfogel 2001).

Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

CESifo DICE Report


Blau, David M.