Choice in maternity care and childcare policies in the Netherlands and Germany


  • Hannah Zagel Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
  • Nadine Reibling Universität Siegen


Childcare, Maternity care, Netherlands, Germany


This paper investigates whether choice has gained importance as a political narrative and factually in care policies in Germany and the Netherlands since the late 1980s. Previous literature suggests that welfare reform introduced an increasing focus on choice in various policy areas in Bismarckian welfare states and beyond, but whether choice is a central aspect across different care policies is not well understood. We argue that choice is an important component for analysing change in family-related policies, because it reflects how much welfare states have moved towards supporting individualism in family arrangements. Moreover, economic as well as sociological research is interested in choice due to its association with quality of care and inequalities. By analysing maternity care policies alongside childcare policies, we also add a hitherto often neglected state intervention in family life, i.e. policies addressing pregnancy and childbirth.






Ad-hoc: Gebären und Geburt unter Spannung