Direct valuation of personal care by households

Douglas Dalenberg, John Fitzgerald, John Wicks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This paper valued the quantity of child, sick, and elderly care provided by households using a new, direct measure. Such measures add to the literature that estimates the size of the contribution of non-market work by household members, particularly women, and to literature about valuation of childcare. This production remains unvalued in standard national income accounts. Traditional attempts to quantify this care multiplied care-giver hours by a wage rate, a method that suffers from several drawbacks, including omitting the contributions of anything but labor, the inability to handle joint production, and the use of an arbitrary wage rate. This study avoided these problems by valuing the amount of care with its market price based on data from a small urban area. The mean value was $3,547 annually (97 percent of it childcare) for all sample households and $9,610 for those providing care. The results afforded evidence of scale economies in parental childcare and quantified care furnished by different kinds of providers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-89
Number of pages17
JournalPopulation Research and Policy Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2004


  • Childcare
  • Household production
  • Personal care


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