By Invitation

The value of unpaid housework

The new Malaysian government is setting up a task force to look into giving housewives an allowance, among other initiatives. What are the pros and cons in valuing housework?

The value of housework, more commonly called household production by economists, ranges from 19 per cent of gross domestic product for South Korea, to a high of 53 per cent of GDP for Portugal, 2011 figures from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development or OECD show.

Making use of detailed time-use surveys for homemaking activities for 26 OECD countries and three emerging economies, the estimates suggest that between 30 per cent and 50 per cent of all economic activity is not accounted for in traditional measures of well-being.

Please or to continue reading the full article. Learn more about ST PREMIUM.

Enjoy unlimited access to ST's best work

  • Exclusive stories and features on multiple devices
  • In-depth analyses and opinion pieces
  • ePaper and award-winning multimedia content
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 29, 2018, with the headline 'The value of unpaid housework'. Print Edition | Subscribe