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Wages of Virtue: The Relative Pay of Care Work (WP-02-07)

Paula England, Michelle Budig, and Nancy Folbre

We examine the relative pay of occupations involving care, such as teaching, counseling, providing health services, or supervising children. We use panel data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. Care work pays less than other occupations, after controlling for the education and employment experience of the workers, many job characteristics, and (via individual fixed effects) unmeasured, stable characteristics of those who hold the jobs. Both men and women in care work pay this wage penalty. However, the penalty is paid disproportionately by women since more women than men do this kind of work.

Paula England, Department of Sociology, Northwestern University

Michelle Budig, Department of Sociology, University of Massachusetts-Amherst

Nancy Folbre, Department of Economics, University of Massachusetts-Amherst

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