16318_5.2_9209625-gdp

Who Does the Housework?

by Elaine Schwartz    •    Apr 19, 2011

Who makes dinner in your home? Walks the dog? Goes to the supermarket?

A study from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) compared unpaid work in 29 countries. Predictably, they concluded that women do a lot more than men.

But, where do men do the most? Denmark. The least? India. Specifically, in Denmark, women devote an hour more per day to “household jobs.” In India, the difference is 5 hours.

The 30 page study, “Cooking, Caring and Volunteering: Unpaid Work Around the World,” focused on 1998-2009. The paper presents fascinating facts comparing division of labor at home between women and men (women cook more while men do the gardening). Totally, people average 3.4 hours per 24-hour day on unpaid work. They also found that when women do more paid work, men’s household tasks increase.

The Economic Lesson

An important source of productive activity, household work is excluded from GDP calculations. People who believe it should be excluded point out that quantifying the value of work at home is difficult because the market has not priced it. Those who disagree say it is too massive a part of production to ignore.

With which group do you agree?

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