The value of household work

Recently, I have watched a Japanese TV show, the story is about the heroin cannot find a new job after she lost her previous. And She finds a chance to have a De Facto Marriage with a salary man which needs someone to clean his room and cook for him. And this becomes her new job and she earns her living from it. The story is not very compelling though, in order to calculate the monthly pay for heroin, the concept of quantifying the value of household work impressed me. According to the data from Opportunity Cost Method (機会費用法) from Japanese Economic and Social Research Institute:

The average unpaid working hours for a housewife living in Japan annually is about 2199. According to the calculation, the economic contribution of a female which has no occupation meanwhile has a partner employed is the highest among all different compositions, achieving 3.04 Million Yen ($27098) Annually. The hourly rate calculated by above is $27098/2199 = $12.32, the lowest hourly rate set in Japan is 823 yen, nearly 8 dollars. Finally, the heroin is paid 193620 yen ($1725) each month under the schedule of working 7 hours per day and 20 days per month.

For a long time, household work has been considered as simple and non-productive job. Many women and men which work in their houses and do things like cleaning, cooking, giving care for their children, managing the logistics and family finance. Unfortunately, these values have been overlooked and underestimated by the public, the market and the statistical agencies until even now.

Nowadays, household services have not been included in GDP calculation, since household services have been considered as non-productive work. The only alternative is that we get employed out of our home and hire a cleaner, a maid or a nanny to do his or her job, under this condition the household services will be included in GDP Calculation. “A study by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis found that if household production was included in estimating GDP, it would have added $3.8 trillion to the U.S. economy in 2010, which is nearly 26% higher.” Shreya Gandhi noted in her article posted on Indian Economist.

Valuing the household services will not only show more logicality on the GDP calculation, but make a voice for the women and men who work diligently and unknowingly that they deserve more respect and care.

Should the Services of Housewives be Included in the GDP?

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