Revaluing Care in the Global Economy (2021-2022)

The world is facing a crisis of care. The number of people requiring care is growing, and the failure to provide essential sustaining care to our ecosystem as much as our body politic now poses an existential threat. Yet, care remains orphaned by the logics of commodification and markets, the only tools we currently use to ascribe value. 

As societies, organizations and businesses, we act on what we measure, and, for the most part, we don’t measure care. Most human care work is performed by women – overwhelmingly women of color – in either unpaid or severely underpaid positions. The essential benefits of this care work to society, meanwhile, are not counted at all. Likewise, other essential components of care – the vital contributions of nature, the commons and public institutions – are, for the most part, not counted. Addressing this crisis demands a fundamental transformation in how we ascribe value to care, as well as new tools and methods to measure that value. 

This project sought to address the crisis of care in part by connecting with the Care Economy of Durham – an integrated economic and societal system that promotes the flourishing of humans, culture and the environment – to better understand its successes and challenges. The team also investigated and raised awareness about care-inclusive ways of viewing national economies, such as Doughnut Economics and the Happy Planet Index.

Learn more about this project team by viewing their lightning talk at the 2022 Fortin Foundation Bass Connections Showcase.


Summer 2021 – Spring 2022

Team Outputs

New Economic Models for Care (2022 Fortin Foundation Bass Connections Virtual Showcase)

The Durham Care Economy (poster by Meyra Coban, Kendall Dees, Grace Endrud, Emily Gustafsson, Tahlia Harrison, Sebin Jeon, Yana Kachenyuk, Zoe Macomber, Natalie Meltzer, Jocelyn Olcott, Dirk Philipsen, Samantha N. Smith and Ellen Zhang, presented at Fortin Foundation Bass Connections Showcase, Duke University, April 13, 2022)

Duke Climate Simulation Game (poster by Sarah Brotman, Allie Brown, Charlotte Brown, Professor Miller, Talissa Nam, Kyle Newman, Jocelyn Olcott, Dirk Philipsen, Tanvi Poondota, Cody Schmidt and Adam Skinner, presented at Fortin Foundation Bass Connections Showcase, Duke University, April 13, 2022)

Revaluing Care in the Global Economy (Zoe Macomber, lightning talk at Fortin Foundation Bass Connections Showcase, Duke University, April 13, 2022)

Jocelyn Olcott. Revaluing Care in the Global Economy (grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, 2023)

This Team in the News

Two Trinity Faculty Awarded Grants from National Endowment for Humanities

Revaluing Care: An Interview with Dr. Jocelyn Olcott

Master's Student Honored for Her Outstanding Mentorship

Making the Most of Duke, Summer 2021

Vital but Invisible: How Women Drive the Care Economy in the United States

See earlier related team, The Value of Love: Global Perspectives on the Economy of Care (2019-2020).

Image courtesy of Global Care Policy Index (GCPI).

Team Leaders

  • Jocelyn Olcott, Arts & Sciences-History
  • Dirk Philipsen, Sanford School of Public Policy

/graduate Team Members

  • Aaisha Abdullahi, Masters of Public Policy
  • Sarah Brotman, Masters of Public Policy
  • Meyra Coban, Bioethics and Sci Policy - AM
  • Tahlia Harrison, Bioethics and Sci Policy - AM
  • Natalie Meltzer, Masters of Public Policy
  • Samantha Smith, Masters of Public Policy

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Kendall Dees, Public Policy Studies (AB)
  • Grace Endrud, Public Policy Studies (AB)
  • Emily Gustafsson, Economics (BS)
  • Sebin Jeon, Int Comparative Studies (AB)
  • Yana Kachenyuk, DKU Interdisciplinary Studies (BS)
  • Zoe Macomber, Program II (AB)
  • Kyle Newman, Economics (BS)