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date: 26 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This article explains why care work often imposes a financial penalty that contributes to gender inequality. The work of caring for others—whether unpaid or paid—often involves more personal connection, emotional attachment, and moral commitment than other forms of work. It creates both public and private benefits, and its value is difficult to measure. All these factors put care providers at an economic disadvantage. This article argues that specialization in care is costly because it reduces both individual and collective bargaining power—that is, it puts individual caregivers at a disadvantage and makes it more difficult for women, as a group, to challenge gender bias and discrimination.

Keywords: care, unpaid work, gender inequality, specialization, market failure, externality

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