Paid Care Work

666 Words3 Pages
Title: Why is care work under-valued and under-rewarded?

Key Words: paid and unpaid care work, wage penalties, undervaluation


This literature review draws upon relevant literature on undervaluation and relative wage penalties of work associated with care. By dividing care work into paid and unpaid, the article departs from the fact that most care work is under-valued and under-paid, despite some exceptions. It aims at investigating the reason that causes the current phenomenon, via comparing and inducing different frameworks and theories. The article reveals that the “public good” theory is the major explanation to undervaluation of care work. In addition, prevalent answers to relative wage penalties are devaluation theory, compensating differentials, “prisoner of love” theory, and social closure. The case of care work free from wage penalty, such as doctors and nurses, also indicates that economic view of variation of human capital and social demand are two other possible factors that can influence the wage of care workers.


Both paid care work
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The one takes place at home is referred as unpaid care work, while the other one is seen as paid care work performed in the job market. Paid care work is defined as occupations that develop human capabilities of recipients, such as health and skills, via face-to-face service (England et al. 2002). Doctors, nurses, school teachers and childcare workers are examples of paid care workers. Unpaid care work refers to the unpaid work done in a family and also more generally to the volunteer work in communities, including cleaning, cooking, and taking care of kids, sick and elderly people (Budlender1 2002). There is a distinction of nature and motive between paid and unpaid care work. Unpaid care work is considered as a result of love, while paid care work is deemed as an employment to earn salary or wages (Antonopoulos
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