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Cooking and Caring, Building and Repairing: Unpaid Work around the World

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Abstract:

Families devote substantial unpaid time to productive activities such as cooking, cleaning and caring. This unpaid work increases overall consumption of goods and services and represents implicit income (Becker, 1965). As countries industrialise, a large part of the household production of food, clothing and caring for family members may be transferred to markets and purchased by families. At a national level, well‐being is often proxied by aggregate income or production per head (e.g. GDP per capita) and changes in well‐being by the corresponding growth rate. But levels of well‐being will be underreported if there is a considerable amount of unpaid work. Additionally, well‐being gains will be over‐reported if GDP growth occurs because of reductions in unpaid work and increases in paid work (Stiglitz et al., 2009).

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: April 1, 2011

oecd/16080289/2011/00002011/00000002/8111041ec003
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