Indira Hirway

  • Working Paper No. 838 | May 2015
    Linkages and Their Implications

    Unpaid work, which falls outside of the national income accounts but within the general production boundary, is viewed as either “care” or as “work” by experts. This work is almost always unequally distributed between men and women, and if one includes both paid and unpaid work, women carry much more of the burden of work than men. This unequal distribution of work is unjust, and it implies a violation of the basic human rights of women. The grounds on which it is excluded from the boundary of national income accounts do not seem to be logical or valid. This paper argues that the exclusion reflects the dominance of patriarchal values and brings male bias into macroeconomics.

    This paper shows that there are multiple linkages between unpaid work and the conventional macroeconomy, and this makes it necessary to expand the boundary of conventional macroeconomics so as to incorporate unpaid work. The paper presents the two approaches: the valuation of unpaid work into satellite accounts, and the adoption of the triple “R” approach of recognition, reduction, and reorganization of unpaid work, recommended by experts. However, there is a need to go beyond these approaches to integrate unpaid work into macroeconomics and macroeconomic policies. Though some empirical work has been done in terms of integrating unpaid work into macro policies (for example, understanding the impacts of macroeconomic policy on paid and unpaid work), some sound theoretical work is needed on the dynamics of the linkages between paid and unpaid work, and how these dynamics change over time and space. The paper concludes that the time has come to recognize that unless unpaid work is included in macroeconomic analyses, they will remain partial and wrong. The time has also come to incorporate unpaid work into labor market analyses, and in the design of realistic labor and employment policies.

  • Book Series | January 2010
    Gender, Time Use and Poverty in Developing Countries

    This volume offers both theoretical and policy-oriented examinations of the value of unpaid work, usually unacknowledged but increasingly recognized as an organic component of the economy. Particularly in developing countries, much of the provisioning of basic needs occurs beyond the boundaries of market transactions. This book reveals a need to incorporate unpaid work in economic analysis—specifically, in the context of poverty and gender equality.

    The research focuses on three significant regions: Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Contributors investigate the intersections of income poverty, unpaid work, and women's overtaxed time, building upon the existing literature and synthesizing diverse strands of time-use survey data to make concrete policy recommendations for development strategies. Individual chapters assess established measures of time use, propose new ones, and analyze and compare possible alternates. Conceptual and empirical studies identifying key issues related to the measurement and evaluation of time distribution are also included, as are estimates and their significance.

    This collection resulted from a project undertaken by the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College in collaboration with members of the International Working Group on Gender, Macroeconomics, and International Economics (GEM-IWG) to analyze the many economic implications of nonmarket activities disproportionately carried out by women worldwide—willingly or not.

    Published By:
    Palgrave Macmillan
    Associated Program:
  • Working Paper No. 437 | January 2006
    Toward Effective Implementation of the Act

    The National Rural Employment Guarantee Act of 2005 is a major development in the history of poverty reduction strategies and rural development policies in India. Though the successful passage of the Act is due to the long struggle by NGOs, academics, and some policymakers, its successful implementation is a much bigger challenge. Effective implementation of the Act requires that labor-intensive works be planned for the needy poor on a continuous basis; that the right kind of assets are undertaken to promote the development of the local/regional economy; and that the labor-absorbing capacity of the mainstream economy be raised and assets maintained well and used productively to generate benefits for the poor, as well as to promote pro-poor economy growth.

    The past experiences of wage employment programs in India, however, suggest that there are several challenges ahead. These include strengthening the planning component of the program, particularly planning for infrastructure and natural resource management; coordination and conversion of the Employment Guarantee Scheme with ongoing programs; ensuring supply of labor on EGS works; promoting equity in the ownership of the assets; and using assets to improve the employment generation in the long run. This paper discusses these challenges and observes that the Employment Guarantee Act should not be treated as one more poverty alleviation program, but should be seen as an opportunity to eradicate the worst kind of poverty and to empower the poor and promote pro-poor growth of the Indian economy.

Publication Highlight

Research Project Reports
Public Service Employment
A Path to Full Employment
Author(s): L. Randall Wray, Flavia Dantas, Scott Fullwiler, Pavlina R. Tcherneva, Stephanie A. Kelton
April 2018

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