Unpaid Work

Unpaid work is a term for labor that is not remunerated, but has an economic value. It covers a very wide range of activities, including subsistence farming, gardening, drawing water, work in family businesses, housework, domestic activities, food and drink preparation and cleanup, laundry and clothing care, grounds and animal care, home maintenance, household management, purchasing services, looking after children, and caring for others. In Western countries and in developing nations, unpaid work constitutes a substantial contribution to the market economy and to public provisioning, and is essential to the economic welfare of households.

The orthodox economic view is that “work” is an activity done for pay, and that households are units of consumption, not production. But some scholars have posited that paid and unpaid work ...

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