Estimating the Role of Social Reproduction in Economic Growth

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This paper presents a conceptual Kaleckian macroeconomic model and empirical analysis that link structures of economic growth and development with those of social reproduction and gender inequality. Employment, output and growth are driven by the intersection of class and gender dynamics as well as social reproduction, defined as the time and money it takes to produce, maintain and invest in the labor force. How social reproduction is organized – the extent to which reproduction takes place in the household, public or market sectors, and the gender distribution of the labor in each – influences current aggregate demand and long-run productivity growth. Based on this model and a panel of 122 countries between 1991 and 2015, the paper adopts principal component analysis to generate estimates of social reproduction regime by country, and then uses these estimates to evaluate in growth regression analysis. The main empirical finding is that most countries demonstrate a social reproduction regime which results in both lower and more volatile growth.

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