Joy Jeounghee Kim studies labor market inequalities and the job qualities and economic securities of low-wage workers. She situates labor market inequalities within the neoliberal labor market and the work-first welfare system of the United States and examines how individual labor market outcomes are determined not only by their human capital and personal choices but also by structural factors such as employment policy, labor market intermediaries, and employer practices. She recognizes that those structural factors have increasingly undermined traditional employment relationships and the job qualities and economic securities of vulnerable workers and their families. Specifically, she examines the effects of (1) the Fair Labor Standards Act, (2) employment arrangement, (3) job training and occupational licensing, and (4) employers’ compliance with labor standards on various indicators of job quality and economic security of low-wage workers. She has been focusing on direct care and service occupations - one of the lowest-paid, most female-dominant jobs in the country - to examine how structural factors such as informal employment arrangements, occupational licensing, and third-party payer systems of the industry influence the earnings and employment benefits of direct care and child care workers. Her research aims to inform the employment and welfare policies designed to improve the lives of low-wage workers and their families.

She is currently the principal investigator of the Childcare Market Price Study and the Narrow Cost of Childcare, funded by the NJ Department of Human Services. She is also leading the Occupational Regulations for the Social Work profession project, funded by the Association for Social Work Boards.

Courses Taught: 

  • Social Welfare Policies and Services I (MSW)
  • Advanced Contemporary Policy: Economic Justice for Families and Communities (MSW)
  • Women's Issues (MSW)
  • Social Policy Analysis (Ph.D.)
  • Research Development Seminar (Ph.D.)

Selected Recent Publications: 

Kim, J. (Accepted). Racial disparities in social workers’ licensing rates. Research in Social Work Practice

Kim, J. (2021). Personal care aides as household employees and independent contractors: Examining the size and job characteristics of the workforce. Innovation in Aging. Online advance

Kim, J., Joo, M., & Curran, L. (2021). Social work licensure: Earning premiums and gender disparities. Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research. Online advance

Kim, J. (2021, forthcoming). Violations of the U.S. minimum wage laws: A method of wage theft. Journal of Economic Issues. LV(4), 977-998. https:// 10.1080/00213624.2021.1982346

Kim, J. & Allmang, S*. (2021). Wage theft in the United States: Towards future research agendas. Economic and Labour Relations Review. 1-18.

Kim, J. & Liu, F-Y*. (2021). Maternal nonstandard work schedules and the use of multiple and center-based childcare. Children and Youth Service Reviews, 128, 106156

Kim, J. & Belzer, A. (2021). Return on investment for Adult Basic Education: A look for existing evidence and future directions. Adult Education Quarterly. 71(4), 356-372.

Kim, J. (2020). Occupational credentials and job qualities of direct care workers: Implications for labor shortages. Journal of Labor Research. 41(4), 403-420.

Kim, J. & Joo, M. (2020). The effects of direct certification in the U.S. National School Lunch Program on program participation. Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research, 11(13). 393-413.

Kim, J. (2020). Informal employment and earnings of home-based home care workers in the United States. Industrial Relations Journal51(4) 283-300. https://doi: 10.1111/irj.12299    

Kim, J. & Chatterji, S*. (2020). Gender and educational variations in earnings premiums of occupational credentials. The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy. 20(3), 1-21.