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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Lives in the Balance: A Comparative Study of Public Social Investments in Early Childhood Across OECD Countries
by Jeroslow, Phyllis Ina, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 2016, 195; 10192554
Abstract (Summary)

Across the globe, the viability of welfare states depends on the success of policy adaptations to a post-industrial, internationalized economy and domestic demographic changes that encompass family formation, declines in fertility, and lifespan extensions of the elderly. One of the most important issues facing contemporary welfare states is the need to adjust social policy to the demise of the male breadwinner model in favor of the increased participation of women and mothers in the workforce. Whereas childrearing was traditionally the central occupation of stay-at-home mothers, their workforce participation has necessitated out-of-home care for children under the ages of five or six, before the start of primary school. Providing financial supports and investing in early childhood care and education are several policy instruments that can be used, not only to ease the burden of care faced by working mothers and their partners, but to promote the well-being and long-term economic productivity of their children as adults. In turn, the increased economic productivity of future generations can mitigate social risks and threats to the survival of the welfare state.

Using a social investment approach based on human capital development in children, a set of indices is constructed to measure public investments in early childhood by ten member countries of the OECD from 2001 through 2011. The indices permit a theoretical exploration of patterns of expenditure and characteristics of policy design relative to their conformity to acknowledged types of welfare state regimes. The indices are also used to detect empirical changes in welfare state expenditures for early childhood investments pre- and post- the fiscal crisis of 2008. The study contributes to the literature of welfare state theory by situating investments in early childhood as a stage in the evolution of family policy; by creating a set of measures that characterizes public investments from a child-centered developmental perspective, one that is less prominent than work-family balance and gender equity viewpoints; and lastly, by combining expenditures and policy design components into a single measure.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Gilbert, Neil
Commitee: Duerr Berrick, Jill, Johnson, Rucker C.
School: University of California, Berkeley
Department: Social Welfare
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 78/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Education Policy, Early childhood education, Public policy
Keywords: Childcare policy, Children government policy, Early childhood education policy, Early childhood investment, Family policy, Parental leave policies
Publication Number: 10192554
ISBN: 978-1-369-55903-3
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