IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Cooking, Caring and Volunteering: Unpaid Work Around the World

Listed author(s):
  • Veerle Miranda


Household production constitutes an important aspect of economic activity and ignoring it may lead to incorrect inferences about levels and changes in well-being. This paper sheds light on the importance of unpaid work by making use of detailed time-use surveys for 25 OECD member countries and 3 emerging economies. The calculations suggest that between one-third and half of all valuable economic activity in the countries under consideration is not accounted for in the traditional measures of well-being, such as GDP per capita. In all countries, women do more of such work than men, although to some degree balanced – by an amount varying across countries – by the fact that they do less market work. While unpaid work – and especially the gender division of unpaid work – is to some extent related to a country’s development level, country cross-sectional data suggest that demographic factors and public policies tend to exercise a much larger impact. The regular collection of time-use data can thus be of tremendous value for government agencies to monitor and design public policies, and give a more balanced view of well-being across different societies. La production des ménages constitue un aspect important de l’activité économique et sa non prise en compte risquerait d’aboutir à des conclusions erronées concernant les niveaux de bien-être et leurs variations. Ce document met en lumière l’importance du travail non rémunéré en utilisant des enquêtes détaillées sur l’utilisation du temps dans 25 pays membres de l’OCDE et 3 économies émergentes. Les calculs montrent qu’une part comprise entre le tiers et la moitié de la totalité de l’activité économique utile dans les pays examinés n’est pas prise en compte dans les indicateurs traditionnels du bien-être tels que le PIB par tête. Dans tous les pays, les femmes effectuent davantage de travaux de cette nature que les hommes, bien que ce fait soit compensé dans une certaine mesure – dans des proportions qui varient selon les pays – par le fait qu’elles offrent moins de services marchands. Bien que les travaux non rémunérés – et plus particulièrement la répartition de ces travaux entre les deux sexes – soient liés dans une certaine mesure au niveau de développement, des données transversales portant sur les différents pays montrent que les facteurs démographiques et les politiques publiques ont en général une incidence beaucoup plus importante. La collecte périodique de données concernant l’utilisation du temps peut donc présenter un intérêt considérable pour les organismes publics en leur permettant d’assurer le suivi et la conception des politiques publiques et en donnant une image plus équilibrée du bien-être dans les différentes sociétés.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers with number 116.

in new window

Date of creation: 20 Sep 2011
Handle: RePEc:oec:elsaab:116-en
Contact details of provider: Postal:
2 rue Andre Pascal, 75775 Paris Cedex 16

Phone: 33-(0)-1-45 24 82 00
Fax: 33-(0)-1-45 24 85 00
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oec:elsaab:116-en. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.