OECD Statistics Working Papers

The OECD Statistics Working Paper Series - managed by the OECD Statistics and Data Directorate – is designed to make available in a timely fashion and to a wider readership selected studies prepared by staff in the Secretariat or by outside consultants working on OECD projects. The papers included are of a technical, methodological or statistical policy nature and relate to statistical work relevant to the organisation. The Working Papers are generally available only in their original language - English or French - with a summary in the other.

Joint Working Papers:

Testing the evidence, how good are public sector responsiveness measures and how to improve them? (with OECD Public Governance Directorate)

Measuring Well-being and Progress in Countries at Different Stages of Development: Towards a More Universal Conceptual Framework (with OECD Development Centre)

Measuring and Assessing Job Quality: The OECD Job Quality Framework (with OECD Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs)

Forecasting GDP during and after the Great Recession: A contest between small-scale bridge and large-scale dynamic factor models (with OECD Economics Directorate)

Decoupling of wages from productivity: Macro-level facts (with OECD Economics Directorate)

Which policies increase value for money in health care? (with OECD Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs)

Compiling mineral and energy resource accounts according to the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA) 2012 (with OECD Environment Directorate)


Including unpaid household activities

An estimate of its impact on macro-economic indicators in the G7 economies and the way forward

The System of National Accounts, which provides information on important macroeconomic indicators such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP), household disposable income and final consumption, typically excludes the value of unpaid household activities. Exceptions are made for the production of goods for own final consumption (e.g. subsistence farming), the services from owner-occupied dwellings, and the production from employment of paid domestic staff, but the output from unpaid domestic and personal services, such as the preparation of meals, taking care of children, cleaning, repairs, volunteering, etc., is all excluded. This report deals with the impact of including unpaid household activities on macro-economic aggregates for G7-countries. It builds upon earlier work by Ahmad and Koh (2011) and van de Ven and Zwijnenburg (2016). The report starts off with discussing the pros and cons of including unpaid household activities, or more specifically, the reasons why these activities are currently excluded from the macro-economic aggregates that can be derived from the framework of national accounts. It then discusses how estimates can be compiled using statistics from time use surveys and other available information. Here, also some of the complexities related to the approximate valuation of unpaid household activities are being addressed. Subsequently, results are presented for the level estimates of GDP as well as for economic growth when including the value of unpaid household activities for the G7 economies. The report concludes with a number of recommendations on the way forward, also touching upon some of the (potential) policy implications of the work on valuing unpaid household activities.


Keywords: unpaid work, satellite accounts, national accounts, households, time use
JEL: E01: Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics / General / Measurement and Data on National Income and Product Accounts and Wealth; Environmental Accounts; D13: Microeconomics / Household Behavior and Family Economics / Household Production and Intrahousehold Allocation; J22: Labor and Demographic Economics / Demand and Supply of Labor / Time Allocation and Labor Supply; C82: Mathematical and Quantitative Methods / Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs / Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Macroeconomic Data; Data Access
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