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Bonus or burden? Care work, inequality, and job satisfaction in eighteen European countries

journal contribution
posted on 16.10.2019 by Naomi Lightman, Anthony Kevins
While existing research highlights the feminized and devalued nature of care work, the relationship between care work and job satisfaction has not yet been tested cross-nationally. England (2005) outlines two theoretical frameworks that guide our thinking about this potential relationship: the Prisoner of Love framework suggests that, notwithstanding the explicit and implicit costs of care work, the intrinsic benefits of caring provide ‘psychic income’ and lead to greater job satisfaction; while the Commodification of Emotion framework suggests, instead, that care work generates additional stress and/or alienation for the worker, thereby resulting in lower job satisfaction. This article empirically tests this relationship in 18 countries using European Social Survey data and incorporating national-level factors. The results provide support for the Prisoner of Love framework, with variation based on the degree of professionalization. Although we find broad evidence of a care work-job satisfaction bonus, non-professional care workers experience a substantively larger bonus than their paraprofessional and professional counterparts. However, national-level economic inequality is also found to play a role in this relationship, with higher inequality amplifying the care work bonus at all levels of professionalization.

Funding

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Insight Development Grant (File no: 430-2018-00062)

European Commission's Horizon 2020 Programme via a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship (Grant no. 750556)

History

School

  • Social Sciences

Department

  • Politics and International Studies

Published in

European Sociological Review

Volume

35

Issue

6

Pages

825 - 844

Publisher

Oxford University Press (OUP)

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Rights holder

© The Authors

Publisher statement

This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced version of an article accepted for publication in European Sociological Review following peer review. The version of record Naomi Lightman, Anthony Kevins, Bonus or Burden? Care Work, Inequality, and Job Satisfaction in Eighteen European Countries, European Sociological Review, 35 (6), pp.825-844 is available online at: https://academic.oup.com/esr/advance-article/doi/10.1093/esr/jcz032/5521386 and https://doi.org/10.1093/esr/jcz032.

Publication date

2019-06-21

Copyright date

2019

ISSN

0266-7215

eISSN

1468-2672

Language

en

Depositor

Dr Anthony Kevins. Deposit date: 14 October 2019

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