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Valuation of Unpaid Help by Seniors in Canada: An Empirical Analysis


  • R. Robb
  • M. Denton
  • A. Gafni
  • A. Joshi
  • J. Lian
  • C. Rosenthal
  • D. Willison


The demographic shift towards an older population in Canada has led to concerns about the increased share of society's resources required to provide health care, social asistance, public pensions, housing, etc. for this group. Preoccupation with this problem, however, has obscured the fact that seniors actively contribute to society in many ways, not the least of which is the provision of substantial amounts of unpaid time contributions of various sorts. Using data from the 1992 GSS on Time Use (cycle 7), this paper estimates the amount and market value (at replacement cost) of unpaid help - both informal help to others and formal help to organizations - of individuals age 55 and over. Travel time in connection with unpaid help is also analyzed. We find that participation rates and average hours are higher in the informal help sector relative to the formal sector both by age and by gender. The estimates also show that the market value of these contributions is substantial, and that seniors contribute a disproportionate share of the value of unpaid help contributed by all individuals over the age of 25.

Suggested Citation

  • R. Robb & M. Denton & A. Gafni & A. Joshi & J. Lian & C. Rosenthal & D. Willison, 1997. "Valuation of Unpaid Help by Seniors in Canada: An Empirical Analysis," Independence and Economic Security of the Older Population Research Papers 27, McMaster University.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcm:iesopp:27

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Francois Vaillancourt, 1994. "To Volunteer or Not: Canada, 1987," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 27(4), pages 813-826, November.
    2. A. Joshi & M. Denton & A. Gafni & J. Lian & R. Robb & C. Rosenthal & D. Willison, 1997. "Evaluating Unpaid Time Contributions by Seniors: A Conceptual Framework," Independence and Economic Security of the Older Population Research Papers 26, McMaster University.
    3. Juster, F Thomas & Stafford, Frank P, 1991. "The Allocation of Time: Empirical Findings, Behavioral Models, and Problems of Measurement," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 29(2), pages 471-522, June.
    4. O. Hawrylyshyn, 1978. "The economic nature and value of volunteer activity in Canada," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 1-71, March.
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    More about this item


    seniors; valuing unpaid work; GSS;

    JEL classification:

    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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