Author: folbre

Medicare for All: Do the Numbers!

We want it, we can afford it, and its cost-effective. A Reuters-Ipsos survey in August found that 85% of Democrats and 52% of Republicans support the single-payer health care system dubbed “Medicare for All. Partly as a result, the market for naysayers and skeptics is booming. A study by the libertarian-leaning Mercatus Center at George Mason University pronounced the concept economically impractical.… Read more →

Care Work, Animated

Invited by Professor Smita Ramnarain, once a student of mine here at UMass, I agreed to participate in an Honors Colloquium at the University of Rhode Island last October. I really enjoyed my visit, and had great exchanges with everyone I came in contact with there. The students taking Smita’s course on Race, Class, and Gender were, not surprisingly, especially engaged,… Read more →

Care, Affluence, and Development

I am gearing up to attend the annual meetings of the Indian Society of Labour Economics in Mumbai, with support from the Canadian International Development Research Centre. This seems especially important to me because several South Asian scholars are doing important research on the mis-measurement of women’s work, including Indira Hirway  (sketch here, from the Mexico City Gender Statistics Conference),… Read more →

After the Care Crisis

The opening question of a conference titled “After the Care Crisis” at the University of Pennsylvania on November 15 and 16 2018,  was “What would an equitable relationship among care workers, employers, and society loo like?”  You can find the program here (I hope it stays up!)–unique in bringing scholars and activists together. Started on Thursday night with a screening… Read more →

The Carebot Conundrum

Check out a recent  New York Times article on an experiment with Zora the carebot in French nursing homes.  If she were my nurse I would ask her how she got her name, and she would probably explain it was generated by her friend Algorithm. Likewise her design–innocently small and androgynously lovable. You can kiss her! The epicenter of carebots for… Read more →

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 →

Pre-Care-iat?

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 →