Demand oriented supply management of extra-familial child care
Extrafamilial child care services are gaining in importance in Switzerland. A number of actors in the public and the private sector are looking to set up child care facilities and developing strategies.
Efficient demand-oriented strategies have to base upon information about the behaviour of demand. The research study produces this essential basis. The goal of the research study is to provide answers to the following questions:
- What factors play a role in parents´ choice of the mode of child care?
- How does the child care subsidy system (price, parental payments) affect the child care choices made by families?
- What role do quality aspects play?
- What socio-economic groups respond in what ways to the various relevant parameters?
- Are there regional and cultural variations of the behaviour patterns?
- What future developments can be expected in the face of the behaviour patterns analysed and the demographic scenarios, in particular the trend in numbers of pre-school aged children?
The analysis of demand is conducted based on a discrete choice model. The model estimates the probability that a household will choose a particular mode of child care. The most important factors influencing the mode choice are:
- Characteristics of the available child care services,
- Characteristics of the household itself,
- Regional variables.
The source of data for the discrete choice model is a survey of households with preschool aged children in the German, French, and Italian-speaking parts of Switzerland. The data are collected by asking households to report the child care choices that they have made. Parallel to this survey, data on the available child care services is collected from the municipal authorities in those same municipalities.The model results are combined with perspective data regarding demographic and economic trends. This will allow us to develop a simulation model that shows perspectives of the demand for various modes of extrafamilial child care services with a time horizon of ten years.
The research study thus fills a three-fold research gap:
1. It measures the current demand for extrafamilial child care services for preschool children.
2. It demonstrates the influencing factors that impact demand.
3. It estimates future demand. The simulation model can be utilised for planning and monitoring of measures in the area of extrafamilial child care services for preschool children.