Better Jobs and Brighter Futures: Investing in Childcare to Build Human Capital

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In this paper, the authors present the evidence on why childcare matters for building human capital, look at the current status of childcare provision worldwide, including an estimate of the global gaps in access, and present specific actions countries can take to expand access to quality, affordable childcare for all families that need it, especially the most vulnerable. This paper was originally drafted prior to the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and has been updated to include new content, taking into account the unique challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic poses for families, children, governments, and the childcare industry, as well as the importance of investing in childcare to drive countries’ economic recovery. In section one the authors make the case for why childcare matters for building human capital and how it relates to a web of diverse issues that include women’s employment, family welfare, child development, business productivity, and the overall economy. In section two, the authors present the scope of the challenge worldwide, with projections of the unmet need for quality childcare and, ultimately, the size of the market opportunity. In section three the authors suggest five policy goals that all governments should work toward to ensure affordable, quality childcare for those families that need it. In section four, the authors lay out an agenda to better leverage existing resources and cross-sectoral opportunities, support country-level processes, and expand the research agenda. Detailed annexes are included at the end of the paper, which include additional research, guidance for countries, and specific policy and country examples that may be helpful in policy dialogue. These annexes can be used as standalone resources to go into more depth on specific topics.
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Devercelli, Amanda E.; Beaton-Day, Frances. 2020. Better Jobs and Brighter Futures: Investing in Childcare to Build Human Capital. © World Bank, Washington, DC. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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