Aimee Dinnin Huff (email@example.com) is a doctoral candidate; June Cotte (firstname.lastname@example.org) is Associate Professor, both at Richard Ivey School of Business, Western University (formerly University of Western Ontario). This article is based on a portion of the first author's dissertation. This research was funded by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research grant to the second author. The authors would like to thank the following individuals who helped refine early versions of this article: Eric Arnould, Russell Belk, David Crockett, Markus Giesler, Lisa Peñaloza and Linda Scott.
Complexities of Consumption: The Case of Childcare
Version of Record online: 14 FEB 2013
Copyright 2013 by The American Council on Consumer Interests
Journal of Consumer Affairs
Volume 47, Issue 1, pages 72–97, Spring 2013
How to Cite
HUFF, A. D. and COTTE, J. (2013), Complexities of Consumption: The Case of Childcare. Journal of Consumer Affairs, 47: 72–97. doi: 10.1111/joca.12004
- Issue online: 18 MAR 2013
- Version of Record online: 14 FEB 2013
- Social Sciences and Humanities Research
Mothers face many challenges in choosing a caregiver for a child when it is time to return to work. In North America, this choice is often made in a context of limited supply with several significant factors constraining choice. Indeed, many mothers have very little effective choice at all. Using in-depth interviews with mothers who have recently chosen childcare services, we explore the choice of childcare and the post-choice stage of ongoing childcare consumption, and we account for our informants' reframing of choice outcomes that are often not reflective of preference. Building on prior research on choice and post-choice outcomes, we reveal the inherent complexities in mothers' ongoing use of childcare, and we offer policy recommendations based on our deep understanding of this intensely personal consumption context.