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Cooking, Caring and Volunteering: Unpaid Work Around the World

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  • Veerle Miranda

Abstract

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. La production des ménages constitue un aspect important de l’activité économique et sa non prise en compte risquerait d’aboutir à des conclusions erronées concernant les niveaux de bien-être et leurs variations. Ce document met en lumière l’importance du travail non rémunéré en utilisant des enquêtes détaillées sur l’utilisation du temps dans 25 pays membres de l’OCDE et 3 économies émergentes. Les calculs montrent qu’une part comprise entre le tiers et la moitié de la totalité de l’activité économique utile dans les pays examinés n’est pas prise en compte dans les indicateurs traditionnels du bien-être tels que le PIB par tête. Dans tous les pays, les femmes effectuent davantage de travaux de cette nature que les hommes, bien que ce fait soit compensé dans une certaine mesure – dans des proportions qui varient selon les pays – par le fait qu’elles offrent moins de services marchands. Bien que les travaux non rémunérés – et plus particulièrement la répartition de ces travaux entre les deux sexes – soient liés dans une certaine mesure au niveau de développement, des données transversales portant sur les différents pays montrent que les facteurs démographiques et les politiques publiques ont en général une incidence beaucoup plus importante. La collecte périodique de données concernant l’utilisation du temps peut donc présenter un intérêt considérable pour les organismes publics en leur permettant d’assurer le suivi et la conception des politiques publiques et en donnant une image plus équilibrée du bien-être dans les différentes sociétés.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers with number 116.

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Date of creation: 20 Sep 2011
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Handle: RePEc:oec:elsaab:116-en

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  1. repec:feu:wfewop:y:2013:m:7:d:0:i:13 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Subha Mani, 2013. "Socioeconomic Determinants of Child Health - Empirical Evidence from Indonesia," Fordham Economics Discussion Paper Series dp2013-07, Fordham University, Department of Economics.
  3. Mann, Stefan & Wüstemann, Henry, 2012. "The fading scope of labour – remarks about the lost rationale of a common term," MPRA Paper 39401, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. repec:feu:wfewop:y:2013:m:9:d:0:i:13 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Bernhard Hammer & Alexia Prskawetz & Inga Freund, 2014. "Reallocation of Resources Across Age in a Comparative European Setting," WWWforEurope Working Papers series 13, WWWforEurope.
  6. Olivier Thévenon & Angela Luci, 2012. "Reconciling Work, Family and Child Outcomes: What Implications for Family Support Policies?," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer, vol. 31(6), pages 855-882, December.
  7. Del Carpio, Ximena & Nguyen, Ha & Wang, Liang Choon, 2012. "Does the minimum wage affect employment ? evidence from the manufacturing sector in Indonesia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6147, The World Bank.
  8. Delanoë, Daniel & Hajri, Selma & Bachelot, Annie & Mahfoudh Draoui, Dorra & Hassoun, Danielle & Marsicano, Elise & Ringa, Virginie, 2012. "Class, gender and culture in the experience of menopause. A comparative survey in Tunisia and France," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 401-409.
  9. Naidu, Sirisha C., 2011. "Rural Livelihoods, Forest Access and Time Use: A Study of Forest Communities in Northwest India," MPRA Paper 31060, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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