Childcare markets: do they work?

Helen Penn

in Childcare markets

Published by Policy Press

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9781847429339
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9781447307679 | DOI:
Childcare markets: do they work?

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This chapter considers the limitations of using the market as a workable model for the organisation and delivery of childcare. It presents a brief overview of the reach of economics as a basis for making decisions about childcare, and describes changes in ideas about the application of market principles to traditional welfare contexts. It describes the neoliberal view of the market, in which the role of the state is regarded as minimal, and taxation and regulation are viewed as mainly controversial impositions on business. The chapter interrogates dominant market theories and their applicability to childcare markets. It explores the workability of the childcare market model from the perspective of providers seeking to make a profit out of childcare provision and contrasts the competing demands of profitability with those of equitable access, quality and sustainability of provision. Drawing on Harvey's (2010) notions of the geography of capitalism, the supposed superiority of markets is questioned, as compared to alternative approaches. The chapter concludes that the market model poses serious risks to equity.

Keywords: Sustainable provision; Market principles; Profitability; Neoliberal view; Welfare contexts; Alternative approaches; Equity risks; Geography of capitalism

Chapter.  7861 words. 

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