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For Love and Money

Care Provision in the United States

For Love and Money: Care Provision in the United States

Publication Year: 2012

As women moved into the formal labor force in large numbers over the last forty years, care work—traditionally provided primarily by women—has increasingly shifted from the family arena to the market. Child care, elder care, care for the disabled, and home care now account for a growing segment of low-wage work in the United States. But the expanding market provision of care has created new economic anxieties and raised pointed questions: Why do women continue to do most care work, both paid and unpaid? Why does care work remain low paid when the quality of care is so highly valued? In For Love and Money, an interdisciplinary team of experts explores the theoretical dilemmas of care provision and provides an unprecedented empirical overview of the looming problems for the care sector in the United States. Drawing on diverse disciplines and areas of expertise, For Love and Money develops an innovative framework to analyze existing care policies and suggest potential directions for care policy and future research. Contributors Paula England, Nancy Folbre, and Carrie Leana explore the range of motivations for caregiving, such as familial responsibility or limited job prospects, and why both love and money can be efficient motivators. They also examine why women tend to specialize in the provision of care, citing factors like job discrimination, social pressure, or the personal motivation to provide care reported by many women. Suzanne Bianchi, Nancy Folbre, and Douglas Wolf estimate how much unpaid care is being provided in the United States and show that low-income families rely more on unpaid family members for their child and for elder care than do affluent families. With low wages and little savings, these families often find it difficult to provide care and earn enough money to stay afloat. Candace Howes, Carrie Leana and Kristin Smith investigate the dynamics within the paid care sector and find problematic wages and working conditions, including high turnover, inadequate training and a “pay penalty” for workers who enter care jobs. These conditions have consequences: poor job quality in child care and adult care also leads to poor care quality. In their chapters, Janet Gornick, Candace Howes and Laura Braslow provide a systematic inventory of public policies that directly shape the provision of care for children or for adults who need personal assistance, such as family leave, child care tax credits and Medicaid-funded long-term care. They conclude that income and variations in states’ policies are the greatest factors determining how well, and for whom, the current system works. Despite the demand for care work, very little public policy attention has been devoted to it. Only three states, for example, have enacted paid family leave programs. Paid or unpaid, care costs those who provide it. At the heart of For Love and Money is the understanding that the quality of care work in the United States matters not only for those who receive care but also for society at large, which benefits from the nurturance and maintenance of human capabilities. This volume clarifies the pressing need for America to fundamentally rethink its care policies and increase public investment in this increasingly crucial sector.

Published by: Russell Sage Foundation

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v-vi

About the Authors

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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xviii

Care represents a distinctive form of work with important implications for living standards, economic opportunities, and quality of life. Primary responsibility for the care of children, the frail elderly, and people experiencing sickness or disability has traditionally been assigned to women, reinforcing...

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Chapter 1. Defining Care

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pp. 1-20

While scholarship on care work has burgeoned in recent years, most researchers tend to specialize in analysis of either unpaid care provided within families or paid care provided through wage employment, overlooking similarities and synergies between the two. Quantitative studies often...

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Chapter 2. Motivating Care

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pp. 21-39

The simple contrast between doing something for love and doing something for money conceals enormous variation in the forms that intrinsic and extrinsic motivation can take, as well as the ways in which these forms can be combined. “Love” can represent many different types of motivations: a...

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Chapter 3. Unpaid Care

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pp. 40-64

Care for family members is a central feature of the human life cycle. Most of us are tenderly cared for as children and hope to be tenderly cared for in old age. In between, most of us provide some care for family members and friends. Current descriptions of unpaid care work tend to focus on...

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Chapter 4. Paid Care Work

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pp. 65-91

That most people enter caring occupations in order to earn a living and help support their family members does not diminish the importance of the moral values, caring norms, and personal attachments that often infuse their performance on the job. In this chapter, we call attention to the motivational commitments...

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Chapter 5. Valuing Care

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pp. 92-111

Both unpaid and paid care work represent important contributions to economic and social well-being, but how should we assign a value to them? Measuring both in terms of some common denominator can help us assess their relative importance and understand their joint outcomes, and estimates of...

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Chapter 6. The Care Policy Landscape

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pp. 112-139

"Care policy” is not a common category in American social policy research, which often organizes social policies simply by the characteristics of recipients. The widely referenced congressional publication Compilation of the Social Security Laws (the “Green Book”), for example, categorizes U.S. social policies primarily...

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Chapter 7. The Disparate Impacts of Care Policy

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pp. 140-182

National, state, and local governments provide a complex array of services, benefits, and regulations that support children and adults in need of care and their caregivers. In this chapter, we assess how well the current system is working—and for whom. Assessing the adequacy of U.S. care policy provisions...

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Chapter 8. A Care Policy and Research Agenda

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pp. 183-204

In preceding chapters, we have developed a unified analysis of unpaid and paid care for three groups with particularly intense needs: children, individuals with disabilities, and the frail elderly. We have shown that the costs of care provision continue to be divided unequally between men and women, and that...

Appendix. Measuring Care Work

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pp. 205-228


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pp. 229-268


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pp. 269-286

E-ISBN-13: 9781610447904
Print-ISBN-13: 9780871543530

Page Count: 304
Publication Year: 2012