Current Institutional Affiliation
Professor, Graduate School of Education, Tohoku University

Award Information

Abe Fellowship 2011
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Professor, School of Social Informatics, Aoyama Gakuin University
The Influence of Social and Economic Policy on Childcare Provision: A Comparative Study between Japan and the U.S.

The purpose of this research is to examine the influence of governmental policy intervention on private child-care provision with a comparison between Japan and the United States. As is well known, the very low fertility is one of the serious problems for a future of Japan. To tackle this problem, the Japanese government has, over several years, taken policy measures to increase the birth rate. Since a low compatibility between employment and child rearing is a major reason why Japanese couples' giving up children, several policies have been implemented to enhance the provision of private childcare services such as nursery and babysitter. Despite such policy efforts, the Japanese birth rate has kept very low. By contrast, although its government less intervenes in the supply of childcare service, the U.S has more childcare facilities, especially private ones, than Japan. In order words, childcare service is mainly supplied through market mechanisms in the U.S. In addition, the birth rate of the U.S. is much greater than that of Japan. Obviously, these contrasting situations in the two countries call the influence of policy intervention on child-care provision into question. In other words, it remains an open question whether policy intervention has an impact on the efficient and sufficient supply of private child-care service. Rather, it may be that childcare service is efficiently supplied through market mechanisms. In this research, therefore, I investigate whether market mechanisms produce the efficient and sufficient supply of child-care service.