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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.
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Chapter 7: Rationalities of Cash-for-Childcare: The Nordic Case

Minna Rantalaiho


Minna Rantalaiho INTRODUCTION This chapter approaches Nordic cash-for-childcare (CFC) policies from a comparative perspective. CFC policies are often observed as a controversial feature in the context of Nordic welfare states (e.g., Mahon, 2002). For a long time Finland was the only Nordic country with a CFC policy system. This situation, however, has changed, and since 2008 all the Nordic countries have had a CFC policy – either as a national statutory right of families, as in Finland and Norway, or as a local municipality-level entitlement, as in Sweden, Denmark and Iceland (Eydal, 2008; Rantalaiho, 2009). A common trait in these policies is that they all, leaning politically on the rationale of increased choice for individual care arrangements, establish an alternative support for public services – a cash payment for parents who do not use publicly funded daycare. A closer look to the Nordic CFC policies, however, shows considerable variation in both the national CFC policy designs, and their political rationales. This chapter will explore CFC policies in three Nordic countries, Finland, Norway and Sweden.1 The differences and similarities between CFC policies are examined from a comparative perspective. The chapter aims to ascertain if a common Nordic CFC architecture is discernible. Instead of explaining the emergence or outcomes of CFC policies,2 the chapter will focus on the policy rationales of CFC in the three case countries. This is done mainly by comparing the current policy entitlements, but also by studying discursive framing of CFC in the process of policymaking. It is important...

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