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Socioeconomic and attitudinal differences between service users of private and public early childhood education and care in the Finnish context

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Ruutiainen, V., Räikkönen, E., & Alasuutari, M.
Publication Date: 
10 Jun 2023


The marketisation and privatisation of welfare services such as early childhood education and care (ECEC) have been a global trend in recent decades. Earlier research suggests that market-based ECEC provision often leads to inequalities and stratification of service users. In Finland, as in other Nordic countries where provision of ECEC has traditionally been a public responsibility, ECEC services have also been undergoing marketisation and privatisation. Until now, especially in Finland, little has been known about service users of public and private ECEC or parental decisions between public and private ECEC. This study addresses that gap by showing that the clientele of private and public ECEC differ in their socioeconomic attitudinal characteristics. It appears that the combination of marketisation and privatisation of ECEC extends processes of educational and social distinction into the early childhood.