The Consequences for Caring Mothers

Edited by Jorma Sipilä, Katja Repo and Tapio Rissanen

This insightful book examines the meaning of, and impacts on, cash-for-care systems for mothers of small children. The contributors present a comprehensive overview of the major political and economic contradictions, theoretical debates concerning cash-for-care, and explore the possibility of implementing it into the social policy system.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Jorma Sipilä, Katja Repo and Tapio Rissanen

Subjects: economics and finance, welfare economics, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy


Jorma Sipilä, Katja Repo and Tapio Rissanen Do you think the state should pay mothers for taking care of their children at home? No doubt many of us disagree on this – we can hardly find a social benefit issue that raises more differences in opinions than paying cash-for-childcare. There is a long tradition of discussing possible means to support mothers of young children (e.g., the debates on mothers’ wages). This issue recently became much more topical when several developed welfare states introduced cash-for-care schemes as new means for subsidizing childcare. A new social benefit has emerged besides maternity and paternal allowances, but the arguments for its introduction have been and continue to be ambiguous. Cash-for-childcare (CFC) schemes are related to the necessities of life; they are inextricably linked to employment, care, subsistence and gender relations. As such, the schemes cannot avoid having a number of complex functions and implications. All this makes CFC an eminently suitable object for social research. It compels us to ask what the fundamental reasons are for the existence of social policy benefits, and how the formulation of social policies influences both the use of benefits and their effects on everyday life, provision of care, employment and other social policies. CFC benefits may be used for different purposes, but in this book we concentrate on those benefits intended to support maternal childcare at home. We ask what these benefits mean for the mothers and what their short- and long-term consequences are for the recipients. Our analysis...