Gentrification and Care

Abstract

Gentrification and care are two topics that are rarely brought into conversation in the economics literature. Often, gentrification is studied in relation to displacement, housing prices, property values, and segregation. The economics of care, on the other hand has often been occupied with measurement and valuation of women’s labor on a global, de-regulated market. Anthropologists and other social scientists, however, have studied the collaboration and care work that women foster beyond the household. The sharing of unpaid social reproductive labor among networks of women/families is key to sustaining the coherence of low-income communities. If gentrification causes displacement, then, an episode of gentrification can cause care networks to disperse. To bridge the largely parallel literatures on gentrification and care work, we present a mathematical model of gentrification where agents base their decision to move on both the price of housing, and the price of care. The price of care is offset by the ability of agents to form care networks. Our models suggest that gentrification disperses the care networks of the poor, increasing their vulnerability to rising housing prices. Thus, decisions to move are predicated on a particular ‘social price point’-a decision that is not only economic but reflects increasing geographic distance from those who collaborate to accomplish social reproductive and other tasks of community maintenance.

Keywords

Gentrification, Displacement Care Work

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Nussbaum-Barbarena L. & Rosete A. R., (2021) “Gentrification and Care”, American Review of Political Economy 16(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.38024/arpe.br.1.11.21

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Laura Nussbaum-Barbarena (Roosevelt University)
Alfredo R.M. Rosete (Central Connecticut State University)

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