The Strange History of Employer-Sponsored Child Care: Interested Actors, Uncertainty, and the Transformation of Law in Organizational Fields

Erin L. Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

105 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article examines the development and diffusion of two "family-friendly" employment benefits: dependent care expense accounts and employer-sponsored child care centers. Using over-time analysis of the adoption of these programs in 389 U.S. organizations, historical research, and interviews with human resources managers, this study demonstrates that organizations added dependent care expense accounts in response to changes in tax law and, in particular, to the creative interpretation by benefits consultants of a seemingly concrete and clear law. Although the tax break included in the 1981 Economic Recovery Tax Act was intended to spur employers to create child care centers, these programs are still rare. This article extends institutional theories of law and organizations by arguing that interested actors create, as well as respond to, uncertainty in the law.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)606-649
Number of pages44
JournalAmerican Journal of Sociology
Volume109
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2003
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright:
Copyright 2017 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

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