Wages of power and wages of care: a source of increasing earnings inequality?

Project Summary:

There is growing evidence that wage differences between industries and firms are a primary source of contemporary wage inequality. Similarly, evidence suggests that gender segregation at the industry, occupation, and firm levels has persisted even as gender differences in human capital have declined. This project will draw a connection between the contribution of between-industry wage differences to overall wage inequality on the one hand, and occupational/industrial gender segregation and the wage penalty for care work on the other. The researchers will compare employment and wages, by gender, in the care versus financial sectors, thereby capturing the dynamics of gender by occupation in sectors that are the bookends in the structure of wages and wage inequality, tracking the extent to which the gender gap has grown or subsided in these two extreme groups.


Kristin Smith is a family demographer at the Carsey School of Public Policy and research associate professor of sociology at the University of New Hampshire. She is a member of the Working Group on Care Work at the Russell Sage Foundation. She worked with the U.S. Census Bureau for seven years as a family demographer, and she has extensive experience analyzing several national data sets (Census 2000, American Community Survey, Survey of Income and Program Participation, the Current Population Survey, and the National Changing Workforce Survey). Her prior experience includes working on international population policy in Francophone Africa. She has a doctorate degree from the University of Maryland, a master of public health degree from Tulane University, and a bachelor's degree from the University of Vermont. Her research interests focus on women's labor force participation and work and family policy.