IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Changing Boundary Between Home and Market: Australian Trends in Outsourcing Domestic Labour


  • Michael Bittman
  • Gabrielle Meagher
  • George Matheson


It is widely believed that domestic outsourcing is booming. Many believe the growth of market services is a response to increasing time pressures arising from new responsibilities in the paid workforce, and to an inflexible sexual division of labour at home. The interpretation of the consequences of the purported growth of domestic outsourcing has been both divided and extreme. Paid domestic services have been declared: (1) a thing of the pre-industrial past; (2) a victim of self-servicing; and (3) the last frontier in the continuing advance of the market in post-industrial society. Consequently, the alleged boom in outsourcing has been viewed either as the resurgence of a pre-modern form of the exploitation of labour (possibly based on race or ethnicity), heralding a deeper and more intractable form of social stratification, or as a future engine of opportunity. Unfortunately all this discussion has run ahead of the facts. Two areas of research are vital: one is the study of the demand for outsourced domestic goods and services, and the other is wide-ranging comparative study of labour relations in the domestic outsourcing industry. This paper addresses the first of these areas. It describes a study of trends in expenditure on domestic outsourcing, drawing on an analysis of Australian Household Expenditure Surveys between 1984 and 1993-94. This information is then interpreted in the light of our knowledge of trend in time use over the same period.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Bittman & Gabrielle Meagher & George Matheson, 1998. "The Changing Boundary Between Home and Market: Australian Trends in Outsourcing Domestic Labour," Discussion Papers 0086, University of New South Wales, Social Policy Research Centre.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:sprcdp:0086

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. David Johnson & Guyonne Kalb, 2002. "Economic Analyses of Families: Existing Research Findings," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2002n27, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wop:sprcdp:0086. 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: (Thomas Krichel). General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.