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"Never Intended to be a Theory Of Everything": Domestic Labor in Neoclassical and Marxian Economics

Therese Jefferson () and John King

Feminist Economics, 2001, vol. 7, issue 3, 71-101

Abstract: This article is a comparative study of the treatment of domestic labor by neoclassical and Marxian economists. Before 1960, mainstream economics concentrated on production for the market, with serious analysis of housework confined to a handful of economists, whose efforts in this regard were marginalized by economics departments but supported by departments of home economics. Later mainstream analyses, first in agricultural economics and then in human capital theory, culminated in Gary Becker's "new household economics." Domestic labor was also neglected by Marxist thinkers, who argued that housework was being socialized under capitalism and would disappear altogether under socialism, but it was rediscovered by Marxist-feminists in the late 1960s. Housework continues, however, to pose serious analytical difficulties for both neoclassical and Marxian economists.

Keywords: Homework; Domestic Labor; Marxism; Neoclassical; Feminism; National Income (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2001
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DOI: 10.1080/13545700110103504

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