Bargaining up to $15

 Big victory for home workers organized by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU)I in Massachusetts, who just successfully bargained a new contract that will bring their wages up to $15 an hour by 2018. As an article in the Boston Globe points out, home care workers joined the national Fight for $15 about a year ago, forming a political coalition… Read more →

The Best Care Work Reporting of the Year

The British newspaper famous for its courageous investigative journalism on many different fronts wins my prize for the best reporting of the year on paid care work. A series of related articles, available in gallery format, address the underpayment of care workers in the U.K., recently dramatized by a report that 100 care agencies in the country are under investigation… Read more →

All the Child Care Workers in the USA

All the child care workers in the U.S. combined earn less than the top 25 hedge fund managers and traders. Wow. Even a jaded old care-work researcher like me finds this pretty startling. I came across the claim in a New York Times article describing Hillary Clinton’s speech at a recent rally and wondered what it was based on, given… Read more →

Care and the Great Transition

Because I think there are fundamental similarities between care and ecological services, I look for opportunities for dialogue with environmental researchers and activists. A particularly visionary network at The Great Transition Initiative recently invited me to comment on a provocative essay by Herman Daly called “Economics for a Full World. My post there offers a brief critique of the “empty-full”… Read more →

When Family-Friendly Journalism Backfires

Poorly–designed policies that may initially appear “family-friendly” can impede progress toward gender equality in two different ways—by making it costly for employers to hire or promote workers suspected of having costly family commitments (e.g. women of childbearing age) or by encouraging workers with such commitments to drop out of paid employment for so long that their prospects of advancement on… Read more →

Recovering from the NYT

I started this blog in 2008, but soon let it lapse as I became an almost–weekly contributor to the New York Times Economix blog from 2009 to 2014. This felt pretty demanding on top of my regular job and I needed a while to  recover and reconfigure. Many of my posts there focused on care issues, and I’ve put together an… Read more →

Jobs for Whom?

The case for “green jobs” took off in fall 2008, when my colleagues at the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) began publicizing their estimates of the potential jobs that could be created by public investments in conservation and alternative energy. I began wondering out loud and on line about the gender composition of the jobs that would be created. Despite… Read more →

What is She Worth? How to Value (Or Not to Value) a Woman’s Life

The 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund dispensed death benefits for female victims that averaged only 63% of those for male victims. Why? Special Master Kenneth Feinberg was instructed to use a formula similar to that used in U.S. courts, taking victims’ estimated future earnings into account. For more details, see his fascinating book, What is Life Worth? (Public Affairs, 1995). Women… Read more →

The Motherhood Penalty

Most women know that having a child is costly and leaves them vulnerable to poverty. But most probably don’t know how these costs and risks actually measure up, especially considering important differences across women and their families. Even as you read this, highly-skilled researchers are figuring out how to “do the numbers.” About ten years ago, a new genre of… Read more →

Is it Work?

This ad from (a job-search site) caught my eye, a reminder that most people hope for a job that will be intrinsically satisfying. Neoclassical economists generally define work as an activity that is only a means to an end–people presumably work only until the utility of the additional income (or home-produced services) is no greater than the disutility of… Read more →