Janet Gornick

Position: Professor
Degrees/Diplomas: Ph.D. Harvard University
Research Interests: public policy, gender, comparative social welfare policy

Prof. Gornick’s publications include: Families That Work: Policies for Reconciling Parenthood and Employment (co-authored with Marcia Meyers, Russell Sage Foundation, 2003). Professor Gornick has published articles in several academic journals, including The American Sociological Review; the Annual Review of Sociology; the Journal of European Social Policy; Social Science Quarterly; the Journal of Policy History; the Journal of Comparative Policy Analysis; and the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. Her work also appears frequently in popular venues, including The American Prospect; Dissent: and Challenge: A Magazine of Economic Affairs. Professor Gornick is Director of the Luxembourg Income Study, an international research center and data archive based in Luxembourg.


income inequalityJanet Gornick and Markus Jäntti, eds., Income Inequality: Economic Disparities and the Middle Class Affluent Countries (Stanford, 2014).

This state-of-the-art volume presents comparative, empirical research on a topic that has long preoccupied scholars, politicians, and everyday citizens: economic inequality. While income and wealth inequality across all populations is the primary focus, the contributions to this book pay special attention to the middle class, a segment often not addressed in inequality literature.

Written by leading scholars in the field of economic inequality, all 17 chapters draw on microdata from the databases of LIS, an esteemed cross-national data center based in Luxembourg. Using LIS data to structure a comparative approach, the contributors paint a complex portrait of inequality across affluent countries at the beginning of the 21st century. The volume also trail-blazes new research into inequality in countries newly entering the LIS databases, including Japan, Iceland, India, and South Africa.

Janet Gornick and Marcia Meyers. Gender Equality: Transforming Family Divisions of Labor (Verso, 2009)

In the labor market and workplace, anti-discrimination rules, affirmative action policies, and pay equity procedures exercise a direct effect on gender relations. But what can be done to influence the ways that men and women allocate tasks and responsibilities at home? In Gender Equality, Volume VI in the Real Utopias series, social scientists Janet C. Gornick and Marcia K. Meyers propose a set of policies—paid family leave provisions, working time regulations, and early childhood education and care—designed to foster more egalitarian family divisions of labor by strengthening men’s ties at home and women’s attachment to paid work. Their policy proposal is followed by a series of commentaries—both critical and supportive—from a group of distinguished scholars, and a concluding essay in which Gornick and Meyers respond to a debate that is a timely and valuable contribution to egalitarian politics. Janet Gornick is a professor of political science and sociology and director of the Luxembourg Income Study Center at the Graduate Center.

Purchase this book

Janet Gornick and Marcia Meyers, Families That Work: Policies for Reconciling Parenthood and Employment (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2003).

In many countries in Europe and in Canada, family leave policies grant parents paid time off to care for their young children, and labor market regulations go a long way toward ensuring that work does not overwhelm family obligations. In addition, early childhood education and care programs guarantee access to high-quality care for their children. In most of these countries, policies encourage gender equality by strengthening mothers’ ties to employment and encouraging fathers to spend more time caregiving at home.” In sharp contrast, Gornick and Meyers show how in the United States – an economy with high labor force participation among both fathers and mothers – parents are left to craft private solutions to the society-wide dilemma of “who will care for the children?” Parents – overwhelmingly mothers – must loosen their ties to the workplace to care for their children; workers are forced to negotiate with their employers, often unsuccessfully, for family leave and reduced work schedules; and parents must purchase care of dubious quality, at high prices, from consumer markets. By leaving child care solutions up to hard-pressed working parents, these private solutions exact a high price in terms of gender inequality in the workplace and at home, family stress and economic insecurity, and – not least – child well-being. Gornick and Meyers show that it is possible – based on the experiences of other countries – to enhance child well-being and to increase gender equality by promoting more extensive and egalitarian family leave, work-time, and child care policies.

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