Economists Highlight Another Benefit of Investing Early: Encouraging Work

As Paul Reville says, “What we actually have now is a felicitous dovetailing of our moral obligations and our economic imperatives.”

Here is another case in point countering the idea that all social services discourage work. From “Supply-Side Economics, but for Liberals” in the New York Times:

“Economists have often taken it as a given that there is an inherent trade-off in which the larger the social safety net, the fewer people will work …

But what if that framing is backward? Certain social welfare policies, according to an emerging body of research, may actually encourage more people to work and enable them to do so more productively …

Child care subsidies appear to work [this way]. It’s a pretty straightforward equation that when government intervention makes child care services cheaper than they would otherwise be, people who might otherwise stay home raising their children instead work. More women work in countries that subsidize child care and offer generous parental leave than in those that don’t …

For example, the food stamp program was introduced gradually in the United States from 1961 to 1975. [Researchers] have found that low-income children who benefited from the program were healthier and more likely to be working decades later than otherwise similar children in counties where the program arrived later. There is similar evidence of long-term economic benefits from high-quality childhood education.”

See the full article here.

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