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Economic growth, gendered division of labour and unpaid domestic services in historical perspective

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This paper discusses the issue of including unpaid domestic services in Swedish historical national accounts. The paper analyses the period 1964-2000, based on the time use studies for 1964 and 2000/2001. During this period, in Sweden, the proportion between hours worked in unpaid domestic services and paid work, respectively, did not change to any substantial degree. However, a fundamental change in the gendered division of labour took place. Men substantially increased their share in unpaid domestic services and women substantially increased their share in paid worked. The inclusion of unpaid domestic services in historical national accounts changes our perception of long-term economic growth and structural change. For example, the increase in the relative size of services during the second half of the 20th century can largely be explained by the increasing rate of participation of women in the labour market. The paper finds that Swedish economic growth in the post-war period would most likely be lowered if unpaid domestic services would be included in GDP, but probably not more than by 0.1-0.3 percentage points per year.

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Paper provided by Department of Economic History, Stockholm University in its series Stockholm Papers in Economic History with number 4.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: 01 Mar 2009
Publication status: Published in Historisk Tidskrift, 2009, pages 5-26.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:suekhi:0004
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Department of Economic History, Stockholm University, SE 106 91 STOCKHOLM, Sweden

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