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Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Lee Badgett

Second Advisor

Ina Ganguli

Third Advisor

Katherine Moos

Fourth Advisor

Joya Misra

Subject Categories

Geographic Information Sciences | Labor Economics | Political Economy


This project combines diverse theoretical and methodological tools to examine the relationship between space and care work in Chile. The chapters are stand-alone articles that come together to tell a single story. The social production of urban space has marginalized thousands of female caregivers from the labor market as Chile’s care system unravels. I argue that community caregiving could simultaneously improve the conditions of caregivers and dependents.

Chapter 1 examines the role of residential segregation in reproducing Chile’s meager female labor market participation rates. I use spatial and econometric analysis to show that the social forces that segregate Santiago create a landscape that penalizes the labor market participation of individuals with mobility constraints. Unpaid care is especially restrictive to mobility. Hence, caregivers residing in economically marginalized regions are significantly less likely to participate in the labor market. Thanks to the gendering of care, female caregivers’ participation is the most negatively affected by the city’s residential configuration.

In Chapter 2, I use political economy analysis to examine the capability of the Chilean system to meet the growing demand for adult care in a rapidly aging population. Moreover, the care system continues to rely excessively on unpaid family members (i.e., women) to care for adult dependents. However, Chile’s demographic transition has also led to transformations in dependents’ family structures. With the help of econometric analysis, I show that dependents living in households where the patriarchal division of labor is unfeasible are significantly less likely to receive assistance. Additionally, using Machine Learning methods, I demonstrate that dependents are increasingly living in these types of households.

Chapter 3 explores the possibility of replacing the family as the primary space of adult care for the community. It uses theoretical tools to analyze the economic implications of a state-funded program hiring caregivers to assist adult dependents in their communities. Since adult dependency rates are higher in economically marginalized communities, the program would disproportionately benefit the urban poor, especially women. Additionally, the program would boost aggregate demand and aggregate supply, leading to real economic growth. A crucial factor determining the program’s success is trust in community care.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License