The World Bank, Getting Careless

The World Development Report 2019 purports to explore the changing nature of work in the global economy. Yet as its striking cover–dominated by Diego Rivera’s images of Men as Producers–indicates, it gives unpaid care work short shrift. Shahra Razavi and Silke Staab detail their disappointment in a fascinating Oxfam post, also noting lack of attention to the paid care sector of… Read more →


The Great Transition Network recently hosted a great discussion of Guy Standing’s arguments for a universal basic income (UBI) as a way of protecting The Precariat–the many workers of the global economy without access to secure employment. As I indicated in my very short contribution, I would be more enthusiastic about UBI if its advocates would get more specific about… Read more →

Bad Air, Costly Care

Traffic-related air pollution has particularly adverse health effects on young children, including greater vulnerability to asthma. In a recent podcast, my UMass colleague Sylvia Brandt explains the psychological and economic burden of family care for children with asthma–a striking example of the nexus between environmental degradation and care costs. One way to estimate costs is ask how much parents would be willing… Read more →

The Tyranny of (Some) Metrics

This new book by Jerry Z. Muller (Princeton University Press, 2018) does a great job explaining what happens when policy makers rely too heavily on simplistic measures of performance.  He  offers compelling examples from diverse domains, ranging from schools to hospitals to police departments, the military, and foreign aid.  His opening riff on the 2002-2008 television series, The Wire, is… Read more →

The ILO on Care Work and Care Workers

The new International Labour Organization report on care work and care workers is a real milestone. It consolidates and compares data of time devoted to care time for all countries (about 80!) for which time-use survey data are available. It  includes discussion of  wages, working conditions and future shortages in paid care employment. It outlines an ambitious policy agenda, insisting… Read more →

Developing Care

The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada recently commissioned me to review some empirical research they have funded on  the care economy in developing countries. It was exciting to wade into field studies attentive to qualitative as well as quantitative indicators, with important policy implications. Many of the studies have experimental designs (such as examining the impact of child… Read more →

The Book Underway

  Here is my excuse for a long hiatus in my posts: a return to the venerable genre of monograph (a.k.a. “book”) in order to explain to patient readers how an analysis of care work complements intersectional political economy (and vice versa). Check out this Oxfam post for some of the political gist.   Forthcoming from Verso in 2018. Read more →

Measuring Family Policy Effects

As more family leave policies are being put into place, statistical analysis of their specific effects is coming of age. Variation across different regions and over time makes it possible to apply “difference-in-difference” models that control for the effects of confounding variables and yield relatively reliable estimates. The maturation of research on this topic was evident at a session organized… Read more →

Defining “Alternative Systems”

  The topic “alternative economic systems” is generally construed as “economic alternatives to capitalism.” This presumes we agree on what “capitalism” is. I don’t think we do. Many neoclassical economists won’t even use the word “capitalism” referring instead to a “market society” or sometimes a “modern” society. I think this a serious mistake. We need words to describe the institutional… Read more →