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GDP and the value of family caretaking: how much does Europe care?

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Abstract:

This study estimates the size and value of unpaid family caretaking activities at a European level. While at a country level several studies are available, a comprehensive evaluation for Europe as a whole was missing so far, mainly due to data limitations. This article fills this gap using a method that merges the information of the European Survey of Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) with the Harmonised European Time Use Surveys (HETUS). Monetary values of unpaid family domestic work and unpaid family childcare work are obtained applying both the opportunity cost and the market replacement approaches. For Europe as a whole, the total value of these activities ranges between 17% and 31.6% of the EU Gross Domestic Product (GDP), depending on the applied methodology. The national values of these activities are discussed and an interpretation of the country and gender differentials in family caretaking costs is given in terms of differences in culture, economic development and welfare state.

Keywords: D19; J16; J22; R20; family care work; gender inequality; market replacement approach; opportunity cost; unpaid domestic work

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00036846.2011.558485

Affiliations: 1: Department of Economics,University of Florence, Via delle Pandette 9,50127 Firenze, Italy 2: Department of Applied Economics,University of Balearic Islands, Cra. de Vallademossa km 7.507122 Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Publication date: June 1, 2012

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