In the UnitedStates,family law norms and childcare policy have long reflected the view that childcare is a private,family matter.Butchildcare hascrossedtheprivate-publicdivide.In the absence of parents at home providing care, a substantial childcare market has emerged. And that market is failing. Our law, policy, and legal scholarship have yet to recognize and account for this new reality. This Article confronts the problem on its own terms, using economic analysis to diagnose our childcarecrisis as a marketfailure,and makes the casefor more active and explicit government intervention in the childcare market. Economic theory not only helps us understand why the market is failing, but also recommends specific law and policy levers-subsidies, regulation, and information-to mitigate market failure, enabling us to craft more responsivereforms.In theend,the marketlensshiftsourfocusfrom what is private about caringfor children to what is public about it. From this vantage point, the Article makes plain that our childcare market is too big-andtoo important-tofail.
Meredith J. Harbach, Childcare Market Failure, 2015 Utah L. Rev. 659 (2015).