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Of Markets And Martyrs: Is It OK To Pay Well For Care?


  • Julie Nelson


If caring work were well paid, would it lose some of the special, emotional, interpersonal aspects we want in "real" care relationships? Some fear that the introduction of "market values" would lead to such an outcome. This article seeks to bring to light some logical fallacies and insufficiently expunged gender dualisms that may lie, unexamined, under such concerns. Examining the ways we think and talk about markets, meanings, and motivations, it argues that the foci of feminist concern should instead be the concrete structures of caregiving and the problem of under-demand.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:5:y:1999:i:3:p:43-59 DOI: 10.1080/135457099337806

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nelson, Julie A., 1992. "Gender, Metaphor, and the Definition of Economics," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 8(01), pages 103-125, April.
    2. Peter Dorman & Nancy Folbre & Donald McCloskey & Tom Weisskopf, 1996. "Debating markets," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 2(1), pages 69-85.
    3. Becker, Gary S, 1985. "Human Capital, Effort, and the Sexual Division of Labor," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages 33-58, January.
    4. Myra Strober & Suzanne Gerlach-Downie & Kenneth Yeager, 1995. "Child care centers as workplaces," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(1), pages 93-119.
    5. George B. Roberts, Chairman, Universities-National Bureau Committee for Economic Research, 1960. "Demographic and Economic Change in Developed Countries," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number univ60-2, January.
    6. Nancy Folbre, 1995. ""Holding hands at midnight": The paradox of caring labor," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(1), pages 73-92.
    7. Deirdre McCloskey, 1996. "Love and money: A comment on the markets debate," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 2(2), pages 137-140.
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    Cited by:

    1. Heyes, Anthony, 2005. "The economics of vocation or 'why is a badly paid nurse a good nurse'?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 561-569, May.
    2. Nancy Folbre & Julie A. Nelson, 2000. "For Love or Money--Or Both?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 123-140, Fall.
    3. van Staveren, I.P., 2005. "Five methodological approaches for research on gender and trade impacts," ISS Working Papers - General Series 19176, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS), The Hague.
    4. Trzcinski, Eileen & Holst, Elke, 2011. "A Critique and Reframing of Personality in Labour Market Theory: Locus of Control and Labour Market Outcomes," IZA Discussion Papers 6090, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Antigone Lyberaki, 2008. "“Deae ex Machina”: migrant women, care work and women’s employment in Greece," GreeSE – Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe 20, Hellenic Observatory, LSE.
    6. Julie A. Nelson, "undated". "05-04 "Rationality and Humanity: A View from Feminist Economics"," GDAE Working Papers 05-04, GDAE, Tufts University.
    7. Lyberaki, Antigone, 2008. "“Deae ex Machina”: migrant women, care work and women’s employment in Greece," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 23183, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    8. Julie A. Nelson, 2013. "Gender and caring," Chapters,in: Handbook of Research on Gender and Economic Life, chapter 5, pages 62-76 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    9. Dill, Janette & Erickson, Rebecca J. & Diefendorff, James M., 2016. "Motivation in caring labor: Implications for the well-being and employment outcomes of nurses," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 167(C), pages 99-106.

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    Caring; Labor; Wages; Dualism; Markets; Commodification;


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