Valuing "Women’s Work"

One of the hardest things in the world is to value that which is not otherwise measured. The old observation that a man who marries his housekeeper reduces GDP is both sexist and accurate.

Still (via Erin), the estimate that being an at-home parent is worth $117,000 p.a. seems a bit high. And we know why:

The biggest driver of a mom’s theoretical salary is the amount of overtime pay she’d receive for working more than 40 hours a week. The 18,000 moms surveyed about their typical week reported working 94.4 hours — meaning they’d be spending more than half their working hours on overtime.

Working moms reported an average 54.6 hour “mom work week” besides the hours they spent at paying jobs.

Still, as a proxy, you can hire an au pair (maximum 45 hours a week) for about $350/week. Add some incidental costs (car insurance, school costs required by the State Department, extra food) and you’re probably at $500/week.

So if you hire two, you’ve covered 90 hours for $1,000 a week, or $52,000 per year. Add in some gaps in the process (e.g., required vacation) and you might be around $70,000.

There seems to be an arbitrage opportunity here, unless the additional housing would cost about $50,000. But even that seems as if “women’s work” adds a lot of intangible value to the economy.

Rdan here: Given this is way down the line now, I have added a link to the post instead of comments. I hope you do not mind Ken. This is at Blog her