Increasing returns: the new economy of family policy in Britain and Germany

Ann-Kathrin Jüttner, Sigrid Leitner and Anneli Rüling

in Converging Worlds of Welfare?

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780199584499
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191728792 | DOI:

Series: Creating Sustainable Growth In Europe

Increasing returns: the new economy of family policy in Britain and Germany

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The chapter investigates how the supra-national discourse on investive family policy which emerged since the late 1990s, translates into family policy. The UK and Germany have both expanded early childhood education and care in recent years by referring to economic reasoning. But this convergence in policy output does not correspond with a convergence of policy contents and policy goals. While the British expansion of ECEC was legitimized in the context of activating labour market policy as well as poverty prevention policy, the German discussion focused on securing economic growth through higher employment rates of mothers, higher fertility rates, and the creation of new jobs in childcare. This path-dependent translation of the supra-national economic discourse reflects national welfare traditions and can be observed similarly with regard to the introduction of children’s centres in England and ‘Familienzentren’ in North Rhine-Westphalia: The investment in family services differs with regard to contents and goals.

Keywords: path dependency; convergence; investive family policy; economic discourse; early childhood and education; family services; children’s centres; Familienzentren

Chapter.  8117 words. 

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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