Paul L. Caron

Monday, April 12, 2021

Alstott Delivers Pugh Lecture Today At San Diego On Child Care Reform After The Pandemic

Anne Alstott (Yale) delivers the annual Richard Crawford Pugh Lecture on Tax Law & Policy at San Diego today on Child Care Reform After the Pandemic: Towards a Public Option:


This lecture will build on the work that Ganesh Sitaraman (Vanderbilt) and I do in our book, The Public Option: How to Expand Freedom, Increase Opportunity, and Promote Equality (Harvard University Press 2019), to make four points:

First, child care should not be understood as a private responsibility, one to be met by market purchases by individual parents. Instead, we should frame child care as an important public investment – as we do in the case of public education and public utilities.

Second, we should recognize that the economics of child care doom the market model to failure: by treating child care as a consumer product, like Doritos or air freshener, we guarantee the trifecta of high cost, low quality, and poor working conditions. And tax-based subsidies cannot effectively cure these defects.

Third, there are existing models for a public option in child care, and many states, localities, and nonprofits have begun to take measures that we could extend. A public option has been proved to provide affordable care, verifiable quality, and sound working conditions.

Fourth, a public option will help us weather a future pandemic or public emergency, for reasons of high quality and public accountability.

Previous Richard Crawford Pugh Lectures on Tax Law & Policy:

For more on Dick Pugh, see here

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