Methodology of the National Time Transfer Accounts

  • Gretchen DonehowerEmail author


Social science has long studied how people participate in economic life, but most of that literature focuses on one sphere of the economy only: either the market economy where goods and services are produced and traded for money, or the household economy where services such as childcare and housework are provided for no pay, mostly by women. These spheres could not exist without each other – the market economy must have workers produced and sustained by households, and households must have incomes from market labor or assets – but they are often not studied in tandem. Most of the study of economics, including economic measurement, concerns itself with the market economy, where men’s production predominates. This chapter describes a methodology that brings the spheres together, to measure how we produce, consume, share, and save resources in both spheres simultaneously. It combines the National Transfer Accounts method of studying market economic flows by age, with a new tool called National Time Transfer Accounts which studies household economic flows of unpaid care work by age. The results reveal how we live in gendered economies shaped by lifecycle processes of birth, death, and household formation.


Unpaid care work National Transfer Accounts Gender Household satellite accounts National Time Transfer Accounts Time use 


  1. Abraham, K. G., & Mackie, C. (2005). Beyond the market: Designing nonmarket accounts for the United States. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.Google Scholar
  2. Auerbach, A., Kotlikoff, L. J., & Leibfritz, W. (1999). Generational accounting around the world. National Bureau of Economic Research Project Report.Google Scholar
  3. Bertrand, M., Goldin, C., & Katz, L. F. (2010). Dynamics of the gender gap for young professionals in the financial and corporate sectors. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 2(3), 228–255.Google Scholar
  4. Braverman, H. (1974). Labor and monopoly capital: The degradation of work in the twentieth century. New York: Monthly Review Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Browning, M., & Chiappori, P. A. (1998). Efficient intra-household allocations: A general characterization and empirical tests. Econometrica, 66(6), 1241–1278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2011). “American time use survey User’s guide.” Google Scholar
  7. Friedman, J. H. (1984). A variable span smoother. Laboratory for Computational Statistics, Department of Statistics, Stanford University: Technical Report (5).Google Scholar
  8. International Labour Organization. (2018). Own use production work. Online article access June 15, 2018.
  9. Kelly, R. M. (1991). The gendered economy: Work, careers, and success. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, Inc.Google Scholar
  10. Landefeld, J. S., Fraumeni, B. M., & Vojtech, C. M. (2009). Accounting for household production: A prototype satellite account using the American time use survey. The Review of Income and Wealth, 55(2), 205–225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Lee, R. D., & Mason, A. (Eds.). (2011). Population aging and the generational economy: A global perspective. Cheltenham/Northampton: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  12. National Transfer Accounts. (2017). Counting Women’s Work: Measuring the gendered economy in the market and at home. Bulletin 11, January 2017.
  13. Pan American Health Organization. (2010). The invisible economy and gender inequalities: The importance of measuring and valuing unpaid work. Washington DC: World Health Organization.Google Scholar
  14. Phipps, S. A., & Burton, P. S. (1998). What's mine is yours? The influence of male and female incomes on patterns of household expenditure. Economica, 65, 599–613.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Reid, M. (1934). Economics of household production. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  16. United Nations. (2009). System of National Accounts 2008. New York: United Nations. Scholar
  17. United Nations. (2013). National Transfer Accounts Manual: Measuring and analysing the generational economy. New York: United Nations.Google Scholar
  18. United States Bureau of Economic Analysis. (2008). FAQ: “Why does GDP include imputations?” (created April 23, 2008),
  19. Waring, M. (1999). Counting for nothing: What men value and what women are worth. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for the Economics and Demography of AgingUniversity of California at BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA

Personalised recommendations