Friday, June 22, 2012

Improving work-life balance

Dana Goldstein:
1. Universal early childcare and pre-K
2. Extended learning time at school, not just for more test-prep, but for art, music, sports, and other enrichment and supervision affluent kids get as a matter of course. This would help the school day better conform to parents' work day, which helps women (and men) work and parent (Slaughter also points this out)
3. A higher minimum wage and workplace representation in the service sector (especially helpful for single moms)
4. Paid family leave
5. More enlightened men - men who do chores! According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' latest time-use study, men still do only about 25 percent of housework, 29 percent of food preparation and clean-up, and 33 percent of childcare.*
 I found this list interesting because it seemed to really focus on three elements.  One is a stronger social saftey net (points 1 and 2).  Two is less income inequality ( point 3, and to some extent 4).  Three is the culture of the people involved (point 5), which seems to be a hard point to attack as a matter of government policy. 

The question that I have is what is the relative priority of each item on this list?  What are the trade-offs?  And what else could you do to reach these goals indirectly?  For example, something like the Canadian "baby bonus" program could indirectly address the concerns in point 3, without increasing wages for an entire class of workers.  We already do this indirectly, via tax policy, so why not be explicit? 

What do others think


  1. Great source. It's provide batter concept how to improving my work. If you are catch on one field so that's best to improve your work ability.

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  2. One question from the childless cynic:
    What problem has been solved (or what potential problem will be solved) by the addition of another child? This is where I diverge from the "norm" and believe that perhaps this is a solution in search of a problem. Now mind you, every time my tenured Ivy League significant other complains about something at work I remind her forcefully that she is doing what she wants to do, and that the vast majority of us do not what we want to do, but what others demand we do. If you want something (whether it is to propagate your genes or do your science) you must be willing to accept the price. If you are unwilling to pay that price there are numerous alternatives, to include not having a child.