Women's Employment, Unpaid Work, Government-Provided Services, and Economic Inequality
Sarah Kostecki, Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY)
Berglind Holm Ragnarsdottir, Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY)
Markus Jantti, Stockholm University
Janet C. Gornick, City University of New York (CUNY)
This study extends inequality analyses by using a new comprehensive income measure that has not been used for cross-national comparisons before. We arrive at this by adding the estimated value of unpaid work in the home and the estimated value of government non-cash transfers to the conventional income basket (which includes cash and near-cash transfers). Using this broader, more inclusive income measure we assess how cross-national comparisons of inter-household income inequality and poverty change across the US and eight European countries when we shift from the conventional income to the comprehensive income measure. We also assess how levels of wellbeing vary across family types – comparing single- and two-adult families, both with and without children. Our main question is whether the use of this broader income measure substantially changes cross-national portraits of absolute and relative poverty rates and levels of economic inequality that are normally based on narrower income definitions.