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Migrants' and natives' attitudes to formal childcare in the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany

Verena Seibel and Troels Fage Hedegaard

Children and Youth Services Review, 2017, vol. 78, issue C, 112-121

Abstract: This study is one of the first to look at migrants' attitudes towards formal childcare, and the first one to do so by means of international comparison. The social investment strategy of the EU have, among other things, focused on expanding formal childcare to improve female participation in the labor market and to include children from disadvantaged backgrounds. The strategy has received a lot of positive public response, but the success of it hinges on support from the groups it targets, which includes migrants. We therefore tested whether migrants themselves share this positive view of the strategy. Using unique data from the survey “Migrants'he main control variables for each migrant group and th Welfare State Attitudes” (MIFARE), we compared the attitudes of nine migrant groups in three countries (The Netherlands, Denmark and Germany) with those of the native populations. We analyzed data in three different dimensions of attitudes towards childcare: (1) attitudes towards the organization of childcare (formal vs. informal), (2) attitudes towards public spending on childcare and (3) satisfaction with the provision of childcare. Drawing on theories concerning the effects of self-interest, gender values and country of origin, we postulated several hypotheses as to why migrants might differ from natives in their attitudes towards childcare. We found for the Netherlands and Denmark that migrants are less in favour of formal childcare than natives, though at the same time they ask for more public childcare spending and are more satisfied with the formal childcare provided than the native population. Results for Germany were more mixed. We also found that attitudes to formal childcare in the country of origin explain most of the attitude gaps between migrants and natives.

Keywords: Childcare attitudes; Migrants; Gender values; Spending; Satisfaction (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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