Symposium 10: Institutional Boundaries and Wages in Care Employment

Convenors: Franziska Dorn, University of Göttingen, Germany and Nancy Folbre, University of Massachusetts Amherst, US

A growing literature documents a clear “care penalty” on the wages of both women and men employed in care industries and occupations, controlling for individual characteristics. and other factors. Because women are highly concentrated in care jobs, their average earnings are significantly affected.  Other institutional factors also appear relevant, such as national policies, unionization, immigration status, and employment in public sector or a non-profit enterprises relative to for-profit businesses.  

This session will bring together international researchers who are exploring these issues in order to promote greater communication, interaction and collaboration. It includes participants from the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Germany who will consider implications for other countries. Brief presentations will be followed by panel discussion. 


Torsten Müller, (European Trade Union Institute, Germany) “Trade Union Strategies to Tackle Low Pay in the Care Sector”

Naomi LightmanUniversity of Calgary, Canada, “Comparing Care Regimes: Worker Characteristics and Wage Penalties in the Global Care Chain” 

Damian Grimshaw (King’s College, London, UK), Mathew Johnson, Eva Herman, Jill Rubery (University of Manchester, UK), “Challenges and Contradictions Implementing a Real Living Wage in the UK Care Sector.”

Hussein, Shereen (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK ) “Employment Inequalities among British Minority Ethnic Workers in Health and Social Care at the time of COVID-19,”

Leila Gautham, (University of Leeds, UK), Kristin Smith (Dartmouth University, US), and Nancy Folbre (University of Massachusetts Amherst, US), “The Cost of Doing Good: The Relative Wages of Human Service Workers in the U.S.”