Is it possible to give an economic evaluation of the time dedicated to household production and childcare? Despite the important progress achieved in the last twenty years, there are still several unresolved problems regarding both the theoretical basis for evaluating working activity within the family, and estimation procedures. In Italy, the lack of specific empirical studies on the subject constitutes a further obstacle. The data generally available come from the Istat Multiscopo survey and the Bank of Italy survey on the Italian households’ budgets. The former is focused on the most salient aspects of social life; the latter is aimed at analysing the economic situation and the wealth of households. For this research, I selected from the Bankitalia Panel dataset ‘98 a sample of 654 couples, with spouses aged between 18 and 60 years. For each individual, information is available on income, consumption, work and personal and household details; but there is nothing on free time, leisure, domestic work, and childcare. In order to evaluate household production, I will adopt the so-called “opportunity cost” criterion, by taking into account the remuneration that each individual may obtain on the labour market as an alternative to performing household duties and childcare. Therefore, I propose a criterion for determining the opportunity cost of household duties that takes into consideration the “actual” net sacrifice sustained by the individual in terms of lost work income.

Economic estimation of the time devoted to household chores and childcare in Italy

DI PINO INCOGNITO, Antonino
2004

Abstract

Is it possible to give an economic evaluation of the time dedicated to household production and childcare? Despite the important progress achieved in the last twenty years, there are still several unresolved problems regarding both the theoretical basis for evaluating working activity within the family, and estimation procedures. In Italy, the lack of specific empirical studies on the subject constitutes a further obstacle. The data generally available come from the Istat Multiscopo survey and the Bank of Italy survey on the Italian households’ budgets. The former is focused on the most salient aspects of social life; the latter is aimed at analysing the economic situation and the wealth of households. For this research, I selected from the Bankitalia Panel dataset ‘98 a sample of 654 couples, with spouses aged between 18 and 60 years. For each individual, information is available on income, consumption, work and personal and household details; but there is nothing on free time, leisure, domestic work, and childcare. In order to evaluate household production, I will adopt the so-called “opportunity cost” criterion, by taking into account the remuneration that each individual may obtain on the labour market as an alternative to performing household duties and childcare. Therefore, I propose a criterion for determining the opportunity cost of household duties that takes into consideration the “actual” net sacrifice sustained by the individual in terms of lost work income.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11570/1586926
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