Dual Labor Market and Its Work-Family Implications
- Kenneth Hudson
Document type: Encyclopedia Entry
Appears in: Work and Family Encyclopedia
- Low Wage Workers
According to dual labor market theory, the primary cause of poverty in the United States is the inability of workers to obtain primary jobs that will provide them with the pay and benefits needed by them and their families. The traditional family structure assumes the presence of a male breadwinner employed in a primary labor market job. Earnings from other family members are considered a “secondary” source of family income. This arrangement may work well for the male breadwinner, but typically constrains the earnings and career attainment of women (Freidan 2001 ; Hirshman 2007). Women in traditional families who become divorced or widowed can also end up in poverty at midlife or in old age (Grall 2000).