The First World/Third Party Criterion: A Feminist Critique of Production Boundaries in Economics

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Cynthia Wood Ph.D., Professor (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
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Abstract: This paper examines definitions of production boundaries in economics, explores the limitations of these definitions with respect to the inclusion of unpaid domestic labor, and considers the significance of such an exploration for feminist economic analysis. Margaret Reid's ''third party criterion,'' a definition of economic activity advocated by many feminists and one used to set the production boundary for most household production models, sets an implicit market standard for defining nonmarket economic activity and therefore contributes to the marginalization of such production. Similarly, production boundaries considered appropriate in third world contexts, such as those defined in the recently revised System of National Accounts, also use implicit market standards for defining nonmarket economic activity. A ''first world'' criterion implicit in such production boundaries defines nonmarket activity as work only if it would have been dealt with on the market in the first world; this results in the inclusion of some of the unpaid domestic activity of rural women on grounds which reinforce the exclusion of work such as child care and the preparation of meals in theory and policy. Feminist economists should beware the danger of recreating implicit assumptions and definitions which result in the exclusion of unpaid domestic labor

Additional Information

Wood, Cynthia. "The First World/Third Party Criterion: A Feminist Critique of Production Boundaries in Economics ," in Feminist Economics 3(3), 1997, 47-68. (ISSN: 1354-5701) Published by Routledge / Taylor & Francis DOI: 10.1080/135457097338654
Language: English
Date: 1997
feminist economics, work, domestic labor, household production, women and development

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