Informations and abstract
Keywords: Childcare, Welfare reform, New social risks
Childcare policy, as an important area of welfare state development, has attracted increasing attention by political science. However, most studies are of an empirical interest and proceed inductively, on the basis of the observation of one or a small number of cases. This paper takes a broader view, and asks the question of what theoretical approaches are available to account for the diversity that can be observed in childcare provision across OECD countries. The starting point of the discussion are theories of the welfare state developed in order to explain the development of the traditional policies, theories that make reference to needs, politics and institutions. These theories are found to be helpful in studying the field of childcare but they need to be adapted to this new field of social policy. The objective of the paper is precisely to develop suitable hypothesis capable of explaining the observed cross-national variation in childcare policy.