Evaluation of reduced payment schemes for kindergartens
The project evaluated two national schemes for reduced payment in kindergartens introduced from 2015:
1) Reduced parental payment. From 2015, parental payment to kindergarten does not exceed 6 per cent of the household's total taxable personal and capital income.
2) Free core time. Families with an income of less than NOK 450,000 (per August 1, 2017) get 20 hours free kindergarten a week.
The two schemes had at the start of the project been in place for a couple of years. It was therefore necessary to evaluate their effects on concerned parties, as well as whether they contribute to making the kindergarten service available to more groups.
In the evaluation we aimed at mapping how the schemes work for the individual family, for the municipalities that implement them and for society as a whole. A major question was whether the schemes contribute to more families using kindergartens. We approached these topics in three different ways:
The role of Municipalities
Although the schemes are national, they must be implemented by municipalities and the municipalities can, to some extent, choose how they want to incorporate the schemes in their work with kindergartens. We therefore mapped this work in all the municipalities of the country.
How families received the schemes
The motivation behind the scheme is that they should lower the threshold that economically disadvantaged families have in choosing kindergarten. We therefore mapped how families evaluate how easy it is to use the schemes and how important lower prices are for them compared with other factors that affect the use of kindergarten.
Actual use and labor supply
Adjustment of the day care facilities may have consequences for other social conditions. It is a basic ambition in Norwegian welfare policy to take measures to increase and not reduce labor supply.
Thus, we examined if some choose not to work because they do not want to raise their income so that they fall outside the scheme. Alternatively, lower costs associated with external childcare can have a positive effect on the labor supply, because the price of staying home with the child rises relative to the price of external child care. In addition, we looked at how many families actually use the schemes.
This part of the project was part of the work of CORE – Centre for Research on Gender Equality.
Trætteberg, Håkon Solbu & Lidén, Hilde (2018). Evaluering av moderasjonsordningene for barnehagen: Delrapport 1. Rapport – Institutt for samfunnsforskning. 2018:4.