Unpaid work in systems of national accounts

Unpaid work in systems of national accounts
Consider measuring the care economy using specialized accounts and the creation of satellite accounts on unpaid work, and the incorporation of such accounts in the system of national accounts.
Priority measure number


The measurement of the care economy is an essential input for policies and programmes relating to care (priority measure 53).

Countries in various regions of the world, including several in Latin America and the Caribbean, are already conducting time-use surveys. However, the coverage, quality and periodicity of the information vary greatly, making comparative analysis difficult. As well, differing methodologies have been developed to assign economic value to unpaid work.

Possible lines of action

1. Amend the legal and programmatic frameworks to recognize the productive value of unpaid work. 2. Conduct specialized time use surveys to obtain up-to-date, gender-disaggregated information on unpaid work in general, and on care-giving in particular. 3. Develop proposals to create a satellite account on unpaid work in the system of national accounts

Related instruments, forums and mechanisms

Santo Domingo Consensus, agreements 54 (“Recognize the value of unpaid domestic work and adopt the necessary measures, including legislative measures, and public policies that recognize the social and economic value of domestic work”), 55 (“Define and establish instruments for the periodic measurement of the unpaid work done by women and ensure that public budgets allocate the funds required by the machineries responsible for compiling and systematizing the information for conducting national time-use surveys in order to facilitate the design of appropriate and fair public policies”) and 56 (“Urge States to establish satellite accounts for unpaid domestic work in the countries of the region”).

 Brasilia Consensus, agreements 1.a (“Adopt all the social and economic policy measures required to advance towards the attribution of social value to the unpaid domestic and care work performed by women and recognition of its economic value”) and 1.d (“Encourage the establishment, in national accounts, of a satellite account for unpaid domestic and care work performed by women”).

Gender equality