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  • P-ISSN 1738-656X

한국개발연구. Vol. 29, No. 3, December 2007, pp. 29-73

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An Evaluation of a Basic Subsidy Program for Infants

Yoon Young Cho

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This paper evaluates the effects of the Basic Subsidy Program provided to families with infants cared for in private day care centers. There has been a discrepancy in the price and quality level between public and private day care centers. Public day care centers which receive government support in their labor costs are able to maintain relatively higher quality at lower price than their private counterparts, while the majority of children are cared for at private day care centers. To reduce the gap of the price and quality of care between public and private day care centers by improving the quality and decreasing the price of private day care centers, the Basic Subsidy Program was introduced in 2006 to the private day care centers. The subsidies mainly aim to improve the quality and the accessibility of child care, and encourage mothers' labor supply. For this purpose, the provision of the Basic Subsidy Program imposed prerequisites to the care providers including minimum wage and four major insurances for teachers, and child-staff ratio. I examine whether the subsidies improve the quality of care, help mothers balancing work and family, and increase satisfaction with child care from mothers' perspective. Since the outcome variables that measure the quality of care are difficult to obtain, I instead use the input variables for quality production. Child-staff ratio, teachers' welfare, and care environment are considered. The relationship between these variables and the introduction of subsidies is examined. The 2004 National Survey of Child Care and Education and the 2004 National Survey of Day Care Centers are used for the base data set. To reflect the outcomes after the Basic Subsidy Program, equivalent data sets for households and care providers are constructed by the KDI Data Analysis Unit. Using these nationally representative data sets, information regarding child care is collected. The findings show that the subsidies contribute to the quality of care improving the input variables of quality production. The welfare of teachers is improved, and the child-staff ratio significantly decreases. As a result, the usage of private day care centers greatly increases even though the price level rarely changes. However, mothers' satisfaction with child care are rarely affected by the subsidies. Although the subsidies with no eligibility criteria enlarge the recipients, the actual effects to increase maternal labor supply or to improve satisfaction is limited. Given this findings, I suggest some modifications of subsidies to raise the effectiveness of the subsidy program.


보육지원(childcare subsidies), 기본보조금(basic subsidy program), 보육시설의 질(quality of care)

JEL Code

J13, I28

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