IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Child care centers as workplaces


  • Myra Strober
  • Suzanne Gerlach-Downie
  • Kenneth Yeager


This paper deals with a subject of central interest for feminist economics: the working conditions of employees in a caregiving occupation that is low paid, female dominated and in an industry crucial for parents in the labor market. The qualitative research employed here is also of interest to feminist economics, which seeks to use a broader range of methodologies than is typically found in economics journals.The paper examines the labor market and work environment for caregivers who provide care for young children in child care centers. It is based on twenty intensive interviews with child care aides, teachers and directors in four different types of large child care centers in Santa Clara County, California. Topics discussed are pay and benefits, adequacy of staffing (induding matters of recruitment and retention), the directors' managerial roles, the effects on the workplace of center ownership and governance, opportunities for professional development and relations with children and parents.The paper provides a model of the kinds of insights that can be had from paying attention to the words of economic actors. For example, the findings about the importance forjob satisfaction of substitute teachers, managerial styles of directors, early childhood education classes and relations with parents have not been studied or reported in other research on child care workers. The detailed descriptions of the characteristics of workers sought by child care center directors have also not been previously reported. The reproduction of the exact words of the respondents enables readers to develop an appreciation of the difficulty and stressfulness of child care workers' jobs; this type of understanding does not emerge from quantitative work.Based on the findings, the paper calls for the funding of demonstration projects to assess the cost effectiveness of several specific policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Myra Strober & Suzanne Gerlach-Downie & Kenneth Yeager, 1995. "Child care centers as workplaces," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(1), pages 93-119.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:1:y:1995:i:1:p:93-119
    DOI: 10.1080/714042216

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Martha A. Starr, 2014. "Qualitative And Mixed-Methods Research In Economics: Surprising Growth, Promising Future," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(2), pages 238-264, April.
    2. Julie Nelson, 1999. "Of Markets And Martyrs: Is It OK To Pay Well For Care?," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(3), pages 43-59.
    3. Susan Donath, 2000. "The Other Economy: A Suggestion for a Distinctively Feminist Economics," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(1), pages 115-123.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:1:y:1995:i:1:p:93-119. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Chris Longhurst). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.