Trading well-being for economic efficiency: The 1990 shift in EU childcare policies

M. Bussemaker, I.L. Bleijenbergh, J.G.M. de Bruijn

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In 1992, the European Union (EU) adopted the Recommendation on Childcare and became involved in childcare policy. For the first time, care services and domestic care were acknowledged as the common responsibility of all the European and national political units. The article shows the interaction between childcare policy at the European level and in three welfare states with strong male breadwinner policy logics: Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom (UK). At the European and national levels, arguments prioritizing economic efficiency and equal opportunities gained ground at the expense of arguments prioritizing the well-being of children. Formerly male breadwinner states reached a consensus on the policy goal of shared responsibility for caregiving by emphasizing common economic interests and the principle of equal opportunities while still allowing for nation variability in how this policy goal will be carried out. © 2006 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-336
Number of pages22
JournalMarriage and Family Review
Issue number3/4
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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