Because Care Matters: Care Capital and the Work/Family "Dilemma"

Dennis Hogan, Brown University
Mary Daly, Queen's University Belfast
Lisbeth Trille G. Loft, Brown University

In today’s economy, parents confront numerous challenges in their efforts to balance the demands of work and family. This paper is engaging in the development of the concept of care capital – the material, the social, the institutional and other resources that are necessary for the care of children – The aim is to test for systematic variation in availability and impact on how mothers balance childcare and employment in the American context. Care capital will be juxtaposed with the classic explanations of mothers’ employment participation, namely human capital and economic capital. We hypothesize that care capital—specifically on the provision side factors such as maternal and paternal leaves, flexible hours of work and financial supports and on the “personal” side the availability of a partner, the proximity of parents and siblings and social support networks—will have a measurable impact on mothers’ distribution of paid and unpaid labor.

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Presented in Session 180: Child Care and Work-Family Reconciliation