Handbook on In-Work Poverty
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Handbook on In-Work Poverty

Edited by Henning Lohmann and Ive Marx

There has been a rapid global expansion of academic and policy attention focusing on in-work poverty, acknowledging that across the world a large number of the poor are ‘working poor’. Taking a global and multi-disciplinary perspective, this Handbook provides a comprehensive overview of current research at the intersection between work and poverty.
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Chapter 15: Childcare policies and in-work poverty

Wim Van Lancker and Jeroen Horemans

Abstract

In the literature on in-work poverty (IWP), childcare services are often assumed to be an effective policy instrument in reducing the number of working poor. However, this assumption has never been properly put to the test. This chapter provides, for the first time, empirical evidence on the role of childcare services in combating in-work poverty. First, it gives a conceptual overview of the pathways through which childcare service use is expected to reduce in-work poverty. Second, a comprehensive overview of the literature on the employment effects of childcare use is provided. Third, drawing on the 2012 wave of the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC), the link between using formal childcare and IWP is examined at both the micro and the macro level. The results provide evidence for an aggregation paradox: there is no link between the level of formal childcare use and the IWP rate at the country level, while using childcare at the household level is related to a lower risk of being working poor. This can be explained by the fact that families using formal care are also families with higher levels of work intensity. Finally, the authors argue that the type of care matters, as they find that informal care arrangements are related to higher levels of IWP.

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