Care: feminist economic theory and policy challenges

Himmelweit, Susan (2013). Care: feminist economic theory and policy challenges. Journal of Gender Studies Ochanomizu University, 16 pp. 1–18.



This paper explores the economic theory of care and its policy implications by discussing three characteristics of care and their implications. The first is that both the supply of and demand for care are affected by social norms, influencing people’s needs for care and how and by whom that care is delivered. The second is that care involves a personal relationship between provider and receiver and consequently care costs rise in a buoyant economy, with differing implications across the various sectors of care provision. The third characteristic is that relationships and caregivers’ motivations are intrinsic to the quality of care, raising important issues about the assessment of care quality and whether markets can provide high quality care. The paper also examines why current systems of care are so gendered, how that renders them unsustainable and the policies that would be needed to develop more sustainable care systems for the future.

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