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The Pauperization of Motherhood: Patriarchy and Public Policy in the United States


  • Nancy Folbre

    (Department of Economics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA.)


In this paper I argue that unequal distribution of the costs of children between men and women has been reinforced by public policies that have served the interests of men as fathers as well as the interests of those employers and taxpayers who are not also mothers. Taking an historical approach, I trace changes in the patriarchal content of policies towards mothers in three separate arenas: family policy, labor market policy, and the welfare system.

Suggested Citation

  • Nancy Folbre, 1984. "The Pauperization of Motherhood: Patriarchy and Public Policy in the United States," Review of Radical Political Economics, Union for Radical Political Economics, vol. 16(4), pages 72-88, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:reorpe:v:16:y:1984:i:4:p:72-88

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    Cited by:

    1. Gillian Hewitson, 2001. "A Survey of Feminist Economics," Working Papers 2001.01, School of Economics, La Trobe University.

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