Description: In October of 2008 Helen Penn presented a paper entitled ‘International perspectives on quality in mixed economies of childcare’ at a conference organized by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research. The Power Point slides linked to above are from this presentation. ‘International perspectives on quality in mixed economies of childcare’ briefly reviews international perspectives on quality in mixed economies of childcare in a number of countries; in the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the USA, the Netherlands and South Africa. In all these countries the private market is dominant; that is, the Government takes the view that childcare is best provided by private for-profit or non-profit entrepreneurs, even if part-subsidised by the state through tax credits or some other form of subsidy. This contrasts with countries like France where for-profit care is simply not permitted, and the state provides universal services through the ecole maternelle system. The standard rationale for using the private sector to provide childcare is that it is more innovative, flexible and more efficient; and that competitiveness in the market drives up quality. Is this generally true, or is childcare an area where standard economic precepts of competitiveness and efficiency do not fit? Helen Penn’s paper and slides further explore these issues. Helen Penn’s paper ‘International perspectives on quality in mixed economies of childcare’ can be found in the journal National Institute Economic Review 207:1, pp.83-89.