New book: The Costs of Children

A new book edited by David Mayes and Mark Thomson explores the fair allocation of the costs of childcare in European countries. This is the first book to consider the democratic implications of social welfare systems and is based on a workshop organised within RECON’s WP 7 – The Political Economy of the European Union. 

 

The Costs of Children
Parenting and Democracy in Contemporary Europe

David Mayes and Mark Thomson (eds), Edward Elgar, 2012

 

This informative book explores the fair allocation of the costs of childcare in European countries and suggests that greater choice is required to reduce the current tendency to discriminate against mothers.

The expert contributors provide an assessment of how countries can handle the fair allocation of the costs of childcare. They look at the experience within Europe in recent years and show in particular how these interrelate with the objectives of improving income, employment and social inclusion.

The book’s conclusion reveals that choice is the key ingredient as families have different views and different degrees of support available from their relatives. Income and social inclusion can provide choice but ironically employment does not always. An employment-based model can sometimes narrow people’s choices, particularly for people on low wages. The major concern is that most existing systems effectively discriminate against mothers.

This is the first book to consider the democratic implications of social welfare systems. It provides an up-to-date assessment of the pressures on parents in deciding how to raise their children under restricted incomes. For many families, practical decisions about childcare are found at a local level. These will depend on the immediate factors that affect them, such as the availability of local nurseries or a family’s ability to draw on voluntary networks of support. What is clear, however, is that many of these arrangements discriminate against women.

 

“Finally, here is a book that provides along-overdue holistic analysis of childcare. Written in a clear style,The Costs of Children breaks new ground in demonstrating how political choices about childcare have different impacts on equality of opportunity in Europe. After reading this book, one never again will view childcare as a private concern. It is essential reading for anyone wanting to understand the realities of European integration, democratic policy-making and the gendered consequences of bearing and rearing children.”

Yvonne Galligan, Queen’s University Belfast, UK

 

See more at the publisher’s website.

15.05.2013