A ground-breaking study, published in January 2000, of what happens when parents are charged a penalty fee for collecting their child late from an early childcare centre has been influential in economic analysis throughout the world.
The findings also have relevance to, and provide important insights for, government in NZ when considering what aspects of and how much to fund early childhood education.
For example, had the lessons contained in the study been recognised when the 20-Hours Free ECE Policy was developed then the problems we are seeing today with funding of the ECE sector may not have arisen. It may have been seen in advance that without adjustments to the policy there would be a budget blow-out as parent uptake would very likely exceed expectations and providers would be strongly tempted to adjust their enrolment and child attendance requirements to maximise revenue. Furthermore, the difficulty - for any government - of being locked into and not being able to substantially change or do away with a funding policy once ECE providers and parents have become dependent on it may have been realised early on and addressed.
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