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Household Production And National Production: An Improvement Of The Record


  • Maurice Weinrobe


Man may work from sun to sun, But woman's work is never done. Anon. It has become almost a cliché that measured growth in the U.S. is being overstated. The classic on the subject is by Mishan [5], who argues persuasively that the (uncounted) externalities from production in industrialized economies are overtaking the production which these economies are counting. But externalities are not the only problems in measuring economic activity and economic growth. Two other problems of equal importance, but more amenable to measurement, are the distinction between final and intermediate production, and the quantification of nonmarket productive behavior. In this paper, we concentrate on one aspect of the measurement of nonmarket behavior—the value of production at home by housewives.1 Specifically, we will present estimates of the value of home based nonmarket production by housewives. These estimates will then be used to supplement various national product aggregates in order to calculate more accurate growth rates for the U.S. economy. We find that the value of nonmarket production by married women during the 1960's has averaged approximately thirty percent of the GNP and close to 40 percent of the national income. The inclusion of the nonmarket work of housewives in GNP would reduce the measured rate of growth of real GNP per potential worker by about ten percent, the exact amount depending on how the value of nonmarket work is estimated. Our estimates indicate a reduction in the absolute rate of growth of almost 0.25 percent.

Suggested Citation

  • Maurice Weinrobe, 1974. "Household Production And National Production: An Improvement Of The Record," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 20(1), pages 89-102, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:revinw:v:20:y:1974:i:1:p:89-102

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    Cited by:

    1. Andrea Brandolini & Eliana Viviano, 2016. "Accounting for total work in labour statistics
      [Der Gesamtbetrag der Arbeit in den Arbeitsmarktstatistiken]
      ," Journal for Labour Market Research, Springer;Institute for Employment Research/ Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), vol. 49(3), pages 199-212, November.
    2. Jara-Díaz, Sergio & Rosales-Salas, Jorge, 2017. "Beyond transport time: A review of time use modeling," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 209-230.
    3. Andrea Brandolini & Eliana Viviano, 2014. "Accounting for total work," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 253, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.

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