OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers

ISSN :
1815-199X (online)
DOI :
10.1787/1815199x
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This series is designed to make available to a wider readership selected labour market, social policy and migration studies prepared for use within the OECD. Authorship is usually collective, but principal writers are named. The papers are generally available only in their original language - English or French - with a summary in the other.
 

Cooking, Caring and Volunteering: Unpaid Work Around the World You or your institution have access to this content

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Author(s):
Veerle Miranda1
Author Affiliations
  • 1: OECD, France

Publication Date
20 Sep 2011
Bibliographic information
No.:
116
Pages
41
DOI
10.1787/5kghrjm8s142-en

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Household production constitutes an important aspect of economic activity and ignoring it may lead to incorrect inferences about levels and changes in well-being. This paper sheds light on the importance of unpaid work by making use of detailed time-use surveys for 25 OECD member countries and 3 emerging economies. The calculations suggest that between one-third and half of all valuable economic activity in the countries under consideration is not accounted for in the traditional measures of well-being, such as GDP per capita. In all countries, women do more of such work than men, although to some degree balanced – by an amount varying across countries – by the fact that they do less market work. While unpaid work – and especially the gender division of unpaid work – is to some extent related to a country’s development level, country cross-sectional data suggest that demographic factors and public policies tend to exercise a much larger impact. The regular collection of time-use data can thus be of tremendous value for government agencies to monitor and design public policies, and give a more balanced view of well-being across different societies.
JEL Classification:
  • D13: Microeconomics / Household Behavior and Family Economics / Household Production and Intrahousehold Allocation
  • D63: Microeconomics / Welfare Economics / Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
  • J13: Labor and Demographic Economics / Demographic Economics / Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
  • J16: Labor and Demographic Economics / Demographic Economics / Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
  • J22: Labor and Demographic Economics / Demand and Supply of Labor / Time Allocation and Labor Supply