Poor-quality Employment and Health: How a Welfare Regime Typology with a Gender Lens Illuminates a Different Work-Health Relationship for Men and Women
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Poor-quality Employment and Health: How a Welfare Regime Typology with a Gender Lens Illuminates a Different Work-Health Relationship for Men and Women

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  • English

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    • Alternative Title:
      Soc Sci Med
    • Description:
      In the growing literature on employment quality and health, poor quality of employment is generally associated with poor health. However, this association may not be uniform for men and women if unpaid caregiving labor is taken into consideration. How paid and unpaid labor is performed varies across societies because of differences in both state support for families and labor market penalties for women. Applying a gender lens to a welfare regime typology, we investigated the relationship between poor-quality employment and poor health for men and women. For each of five welfare regime types, we hypothesized if men or women would be more strongly affected by poor-quality employment based on the regime's family support policies and labor practices. Our analysis of 18 countries using the 2015 European and American Working Conditions Surveys data largely supported our hypotheses. In countries that support traditional gender roles with high state expenditure and have labor markets that penalize women, the association between poor-quality employment and health was stronger for men. The association was stronger for women in countries that rely on women to provide unpaid caregiving without substantial state support. In countries with apparently gender-neutral expectations for both paid work and unpaid caregiving work, no difference was found between men and women in the association of poor-quality employment with poor health. We discuss the importance of institutional perspectives to understand work as a gendered experience that impacts health. We suggest more comprehensive welfare regime typologies that recognize women both as caregivers and workers. Expanding the scope of research on work and health to include this integrated view of life could make a stride toward gender health equity.
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