□ 지속적인 저출산 현상을 극복하기 위한 정부의 노력이 지속적으로 경주되면서, 육아정책분야 재정 투자도 크게 증가하는 양상을 보여왔음.
□ 본 연구는 정책 환경의 변화에 대응하여 기존 육아지원 분야 지원 정책의 재정 투자 규모를 살펴보고, 총합적 차원의 재정 투자가 어떠한 정책적 효과를 가져왔는지를 고찰하는 것을 연구 목적으로 함.
□ 이를 통해 향후 육아정책분야 지원 정책의 방향 설정과 효과성 제고를 위한 정책적 시사점과 발전 방안을 모색해보고자 함. In step with the continued government efforts to address the on-going issue of low fertility rate in Korea, there have been substantial increases in the scale of fiscal spending in the field of ECEC policy. In response to the changes in the policy environment, this study looks at the scale of fiscal spending allotted for support policies in the extant field of ECEC, for the purpose of assessing the policy effects that were realized through fiscal spending at the aggregate level. By doing so, this study aims to identify policy implications and ways for improvement regarding the direction and efficacy of ECEC support policies.
To these ends, in this study we conducted literature reviews in addition to quantitative analysis of policy efficacy via administrative statistics and panel data. Furthermore, we held expert surveys (AHP) to look at policy priorities and outcome analyses, as well as surveys of the public to gauge user perceptions regarding the outcomes and direction of fiscal spending.
The key findings of this study are as follows. Depending on the calculation criteria, the gross budget expenditure allotted for the field of ECEC policy was estimated at between 11,886.7 to 17,727.4 billion KRW as of 2017. Also, taking into consideration the policy goals prior to the time period analyzed in this study (2017), we looked at indicators of childcare burden, female employment, and childbirth to analyze the efficacy of fiscal spending in ECEC policies. Firstly, analysis of matched datasets across the central government budget, the ‘Nuri Curriculum’ budget, and budgets for early childhood education showed that a higher (per capita) childcare budget was associated with higher probability of using education / care services. Also, somewhat unexpectedly, a higher per capita childcare budget was also found to lead to higher education / care costs. This may reflect the fact that the higher probability of service use and the subsequent rise in the number of households spending resources on education / care led to a rise in the overall average costs spent. Per capita childcare budget spending was not found to have a significant effect on education / care cost burdens, while the central government budget and the budget for early childhood education (2013~2017) were found to have a significantly positive effect in alleviating burdens. Secondly, analysis of a multi-level model to gauge the effects of spending on female employment found that female employment rates were higher in regions where more people were employed in male-dominant industries or industries characterized by gender competition. Although the per capita childcare budget was found to be positively associated with female employment rates, the effect was not significant. Thirdly, dynamic panel data analysis based on the early childhood education budgets (2012~2017) of regional education offices found that while the policies of regional education offices had no significant effect on the initial marriage and initial childbirth ages of women, they did have a positive effect on the total fertility rate. Thus, while policies for supporting early childhood education had a positive effect on fertility in the short term, there was some ambiguity regarding their long term effects.
Next, in a survey administered to 1,055 members of the public, almost half (49.2%) of the respondents felt the current level of fiscal spending on childcare policies to be insufficient. In fact, 10.9% of the respondents felt that current spending was “very insufficient”. Regarding the specific areas of childcare policy that needed more budgetary spending (multiple choice), the most-selected response (54.5%) was childcare support measures such as childcare facilities, childcare fees, and home care allowances. This was followed by support for work-life balance (54.2%), such as parental leave and support for women affected by career interruption. Next, regarding the policy goals that government support policies should prioritize, the most-selected response (40.5%) was alleviating the cost burden of childcare, followed by boosting the fertility rate (21.8%), encouraging economic activity in women (12.4%), improving the quality of life among children (9.3%), improving the satisfaction and meeting the demands of child-rearing households (8.1%), ensuring a level starting line (7.7%), and other goals (0.3%).
In the expert survey (AHP), where 20 experts were consulted regarding the direction of fiscal spending on childcare policy, the highest-scoring field in terms of relative importance was care support for disadvantaged households – experts opined that there was a need to greatly expand care spending for single-parent households, multi-cultural households, and households affected by disabilities. Also, in terms of policy goals that should be prioritized during policy design, experts gave a high score to improving children's quality of life (6.3 out of a possible 7), followed by ensuring a level starting line (improving social equity), which was given a score of 5.6.
Based on these findings, in this study we presented the following recommendations: restructuring fiscal spending to address policy changes, reinforcing policies to work toward an inclusive welfare state, such as providing graduated support and expanding the age coverage for children in low-income households (provisionally, a 'low-income household care allowance'), expanded support for working time adjustment and services (work-life balance assistance), establishing governance structures for ensuring stable funding, closing inter-regional gaps in ECEC support policies, establishing a credible system for compiling fiscal reports related to ECEC policies, and improving the visibility of policies by expanding information provision.