The Care Work System as a Fundamental Cause of Economic Inequalities
This project considers the interplay between paid and unpaid care work and the relationship between care work penalties and gender, race, and class inequalities. The author makes the novel argument that prior research does not sufficiently understand the combined effects of both paid and unpaid care work penalties and how they interact. To fill this gap, this project will develop a “care-work-systems” framework to determine how pay penalties for care work impact economic inequality. The project identifies that paid and unpaid care work penalties are often viewed as separate even though they impact each other. In addition to bringing these two skeins of research literature in conversation with one another, it will also bridge the research literatures in child care and eldercare, and integrate class, in addition to race and gender, into the analysis. In addition to the theoretical contribution, it proposes an empirical study to test this framework using panel data from three countries with different care infrastructures—the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany—to help shed light on how policies and social structures play a role in generating paid and unpaid care work penalties.