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Do Australian Teenagers Work? Why We Should Care


  • Pavla Miller


This paper addresses the lack of systematic attention to teenagers' work in feminist economics. Drawing on historical sociology, it suggests why paid or unpaid work by children has been difficult to discuss, define, and measure in contemporary industrialized countries, in part by comparing debates on child workers and “economically inactive” housewives. The paper then asks whether mothers' increasing workforce participation has led to a rise in the number of children whose labor is “domestically useful.” The answer, focusing on Australian research, considers ethnographies of teenagers who resist housework, accounts of those who make substantial contributions to their families, surveys of children's employment, and data from national time-use surveys. The paper concludes that the interdependence of all family members should be considered in one analytical frame.

Suggested Citation

  • Pavla Miller, 2012. "Do Australian Teenagers Work? Why We Should Care," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(4), pages 1-24, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:18:y:2012:i:4:p:1-24
    DOI: 10.1080/13545701.2012.731514

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    Cited by:

    1. Lyn Craig & Abigail Powell & Judith Brown, 2015. "Co-resident Parents and Young People Aged 15–34: Who Does What Housework?," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 121(2), pages 569-588, April.

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