Historisk Tidskrift. Utgiven av Svenska historiska föreningen
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Historisk tidskrift 129:1 • 2009

Innehåll (Contents) 2009:1

Uppsatser (Articles)

Ekonomisk tillväxt, genusarbetsdelning och obetalt hemarbete i historisk belysning

Rodney Edvinsson

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Economic growth, gendered division of labour and unpaid domestic services in historical perspective

This article discusses the significance of the inclusion or exclusion of unpaid domestic services in historical national accounts. In the official Swedish national accounts unpaid domestic services are not included in calculations of Gross Do- mestic Product (GDP), although international guidelines recommend the use of Household Satellite Account.

Based on the time use studies for 1964 and 2000/2001, the article analyses the period 1964–2000. During this period the proportion between hours worked in unpaid domestic services and paid work, respectively, did not change significantly. However, a fundamental change in the gendered division of labour took place. Men increased their share of unpaid domestic services substantially whereas wo- men increased their share of paid work substantially.

The inclusion of unpaid domestic services in historical national accounts changes perceptions of long-term economic growth and structural change. For example, the increase in the relative size of the service sector during the second half of the 20th century can largely be explained by the increasing rate of parti- cipation of women in the labour market.

The article finds that the rate of economic growth in the post-war period would most likely be reduced if unpaid domestic services were to be included in GDP, but probably not by more than 0.1–0.3 percentage points per year.


Gross Domestic Product, Historical National Accounts, Household Satellite Account, economic growth, domestic services, feminist economics, gender