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Choices in Threefold. Home maintenance and improvement between household production, informal outsourcing and the formal economy


  • Adriaenssens, Stef

    () (Hogeschool-Universiteit Brussel (HUB), Belgium)

  • Hendrickx, Jef

    () (Hogeschool-Universiteit Brussel (HUB), Belgium)


Households depend on the existence of a home. The means invested in the maintenance of this home represent an important economic sector. However, the role of formal outsourcing in this maintenance work is often overestimated. Commissioning a formal enterprise is only one possibility to maintain the household’s home. Alternative modes of production are informal outsourcing and do-it-yourself with unpaid help from primary network members like kin and friends. In this paper we report the results of a survey of a representative sample of Flemish households (n=240). In a first part the different production modes are quantified according to two different methods (expenses versus time invested). The question is not only how prevalent moonlighting is; it is just as important to estimate the proportion of do-it-yourself in relation to outsourcing. Both questions are relevant from a socio-economic and a policy viewpoint. In the analytical part of the paper we construct and test a theoretical explanation of the determinants of the choice made. We hypothesize that the complexity of the maintenance work has an impact, but also dimensions of social and cultural capital. Thereby we focus on factors such as dexterity, occupational acquaintance with maintenance work, social trust and social contacts. With the help of a multinomial logistic regression support for these hypotheses is established.

Suggested Citation

  • Adriaenssens, Stef & Hendrickx, Jef, 2008. "Choices in Threefold. Home maintenance and improvement between household production, informal outsourcing and the formal economy," Working Papers 2008/29, Hogeschool-Universiteit Brussel, Faculteit Economie en Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:hub:wpecon:200829

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