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Making Visible the Hidden Economy: The Case for Gender-Impact Analysis of Economic Policy

  • Susan Himmelweit
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    This paper makes the case for analyzing the gender impact of economic policy, based on the existence of an unpaid as well as a paid economy and on structural differences between men's and women's positions across the two economies. Economic policy is targeted on the paid economy. However, unintended impacts on the unpaid care economy may limit how effective any policy can be. Gender-impact assessment will not only make the effects of economic policies on gender inequalities transparent; it will also enable policy makers to achieve all their goals more effectively, whether or not these goals relate explicitly to gender. The introduction in the UK of a new Working Families' Tax Credit (WFTC), designed to make employment pay and help reduce child poverty, provides an example of how gender-impact assessment could have been used to improve an initial policy design. The paper also suggests criteria for evaluating economic policy, so that its full gender impact and its effects on both paid and caring economies can be assessed.

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    File URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13545700110104864
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    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Feminist Economics.

    Volume (Year): 8 (2002)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 49-70

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    Handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:8:y:2002:i:1:p:49-70
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    1. Lundberg, S. & Pollak, R.A., 1991. "Separate Spheres Bargaining and the Marriage Market," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 91-08, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
    2. Lundberg, S.J. & Pollak, R.A. & Wales, T.J., 1994. "Do Husbands and Wives Pool Their Resources? Evidence from U.K. Child Benefit," Discussion Papers in Economics at the University of Washington 94-6, Department of Economics at the University of Washington.
    3. Duncan Ironmonger, 1996. "Counting outputs, capital inputs and caring labor: Estimating gross household product," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 2(3), pages 37-64.
    4. Jonathan Gershuny & John Robinson, 1988. "Historical changes in the household division of labor," Demography, Springer, vol. 25(4), pages 537-552, November.
    5. McElroy, Marjorie B & Horney, Mary Jean, 1981. "Nash-Bargained Household Decisions: Toward a Generalization of the Theory of Demand," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 22(2), pages 333-49, June.
    6. Bina Agarwal, 1997. "''Bargaining'' and Gender Relations: Within and Beyond the Household," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 3(1), pages 1-51.
    7. Susan Donath, 2000. "The Other Economy: A Suggestion for a Distinctively Feminist Economics," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(1), pages 115-123.
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