Individualism and Child Care: The Legacy of the American Frontier and its Impact on Public Investment in Infant-Toddler Child Care
The child care system in the United States is struggling. Child care is in high demand, but supply is low and inaccessible. And while public support and investment in the child care system have grown since the 1960s, challenges persist and funding-levels are insufficient. This thesis hypothesizes that culture is influencing policymakers' decisions on how much to invest in child care. A values-based motivator like individualism shapes policy preferences and choices of voters and policymakers and, in turn, does not incentivize them to support child care as a public good. There is evidence that the experience of the American frontier influences modern-day preferences for government redistribution and predisposition towards collective action. Using OLS and logit regression and building on recent research on the enduring impact of individualism, I explore whether the legacy of the frontier experience extends beyond opinion and preference and has real consequence for state-level policy decisions which in turn impact the present-day care of young children and their future. With years of frontier experience and the prevalence of infrequent names serving as proxies, the results indicate there is a strong relationship between individualism and child care 130 years after the American frontier closed. This has implications for how policymakers, providers, families, and advocates frame child care as an issue and seek to enact policy change.
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Child Care Decision-Making: The Role of Family Preferences in the Selection of Infant and Toddler Care Wong, Rebecca Elaine Weng-Yan (Georgetown University, 2013)Using data from the Early Childhood Program Participation module of the National Household Education Survey of 2005, this paper assesses the relationship between parents' child care preferences for their infants and toddlers ...