Definition and Measurement of Work and Unpaid Care Work

  • Jacques Charmes
Part of the Demographic Transformation and Socio-Economic Development book series (DTSD, volume 10)


The labour force concepts are traditionally based on the definition of productive activities by the System of National Accounts (SNA) that excludes all services performed by the households for their own final use but includes the production of goods for own consumption by the households and all productive activities performed by unpaid (contributing) family workers. But boundaries and correspondences between production and labour force have changed over time and across regions. The new definitions of employment and work delineated by the resolution concerning statistics of work, employment and labour underutilisation adopted by the ILO in 2013 pave the way for a clear distinction between “employment work” comprising work performed for others in exchange for pay or profit, on the one hand, and own-use production work comprising production of goods and services for own final use and volunteer work comprising non-compulsory work performed for others without pay on the other hand. Time-use surveys and their related classifications have similarly evolved, and while present estimates of unpaid care work continue to exclude the production of goods for own final use (in order to facilitate comparisons with GDP), in the near future more consistent estimates could be generated in adequacy with a broader definition of unpaid care work.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jacques Charmes
    • 1
  1. 1.IRD University of Paris DescartesParisFrance

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