New paper compares family care work in Italy and Poland

A newly published study, by a team including PSI’s Francesca Francavilla, provides a comparison of the size and value of unpaid family care work in two European member states, Italy and Poland.

Using the Italian and Polish time-use surveys, both the opportunity cost and the market-replacement approaches are employed to separately estimate the value of family childcare and care of the elderly. The results show that, overall, in Italy the number of people performing family care work is higher, although this is partly accounted for by Italy’s larger population. Italians participate somewhat less than Poles in child care, but substantially more in care of the elderly because of demographic factors.

However, the huge difference in the value of unpaid family care work, which in Italy exceeds the value in Poland by about eight times, is largely to be attributed to the discrepancy in hourly earnings; average earnings of Poles are about one fifth of those of Italians. When the care work in the two countries is compared with national GDP instead, the value of unpaid family care work is more similar, ranging between 3.7 and 4.4 per cent of Polish GDP and 4.1 and 5 per cent of Italian GDP, depending on the estimation approach.

The paper then discusses the national values of these activities and an interpretation of the country differentials in the family care-taking gender gaps is given in terms of differences in culture, economic development and institutions.

Read the paper

Use of Time and Value of Unpaid Family Care Work: A Comparison between Italy and Poland, IZA Discussion Paper No. 5771