Previous to the 1990s day-care supply in the Netherlands was lagging behind compared to most other European countries. Therefore, the Dutch government introduced the Stimulative Measures on Child Care at the end of the 1980s. These supply-side subsidies were used to increase day-care supply, especially in day-care centers. The Stimulative Measures were set up as a public-private partnership (government and employers). Employers were given an important role in the Stimulative Measures, via the so-called employer-financed places. In addition to the involvement of employers, the decentralization of policy from the central to the local government was an important aspect of the Stimulative Measures on Child Care. As a result, child care increasingly became the responsibility of municipalities and this had consequences for differences in the availability of child care between municipalities. Using data on day-care supply in Dutch municipalities between 1989 and 1995, the analyses show that day-care supply in municipalities was indeed increasingly determined by demand for day care by employers. However, parental income became a much stronger determinant of day-care supply between 1989 and 1995. This suggests that employers shift part of the costs to the parents and/or that relatively more high-income parents started using day care. This means that municipal day-care supply became more dependent on the municipality’s employment structure. It also means that day care became less accessible for low-income parents. The Stimulative Measures ended in 1995, which meant that day-care centers had to become more oriented toward the market. This transition from the welfare sector to the market sector is in line with government policy in recent years which has been characterized by a withdrawal of the collective in favor of the market sector. Day-care center decision-makers have now become social entrepreneurs contracting for money. Commercialization of the child-care sector is supposed to lead to increased efficiency, but it can also be expected to reduce the quality and accessibility of day care. The second part of the study focuses on the effects of increased commercialization on efficiency, quality, and the accessibility of day care. These effects were studied on the basis of a survey among Dutch day-care centers. The analyses show that more commercialization in the day-care market can be expected to lead to more efficiency, a lower quality of care (staff/child ratio), and relatively fewer subsidized places, indicating a decreased accessibility of day care.
|Qualification||Doctor of Philosophy|
|Publication status||Published - 2000|