Research shows that accessible and affordable child care is both a lifeline for working families and a driver of growth across the entire U.S. economy. A functioning child care market has the potential to grow the economy through several distinct channels: assisting parents who choose to pursue work, helping children grow and develop their human capital, and providing high-quality jobs for caretakers.

These mechanisms of growth have been discussed by scholars for decades, but further research would help policymakers establish and fine-tune a functioning child care system in the United States that maximizes the potential for economic growth. With that in mind, Equitable Growth recently convened more than 30 economists, social scientists, policymakers, and advocates to discuss research questions and needs that could further shed light on the important role that child care plays in propping up the overall economy, as well as policy strategies that could help shore up the U.S. child care industry.

This meeting was part of Equitable Growth’s Child Care Research Accelerator initiative, which furthers our commitment to advancing research and evidence that supports broad-based and sustainable economic growth. In addition to serving as an important discussion forum, the convening uncovered new opportunities for research, which has helped to inform the funding strategy for Equitable Growth’s 2023 Request for Proposals.

This column summarizes some of the research questions and themes discussed at this convening, and then outlines Equitable Growth’s research priorities around child care and early education going into our 2023 grantmaking cycle.

Researchers at Equitable Growth’s recent child care convening raised several different areas where further research on child care and early education would be valuable. These research questions focus on the foundational relationship between early care and education and the economy, sectors of the child care market that have been underinvestigated in prior research, and new research opportunities offered by policy change. Below, we look at these topics in more detail.

Read the full article about child care and economic growth at Equitable Growth.