3.3 Women and the GDP

Women and the GDP

GDP is a mysterious number on which politicians soar or sink, businesses thrive or tumble, and folks like you and me pay our bills or go bankrupt. Despite being considerably more important than the rules of football or the relationship status of your favorite celebrity, I’d venture to say that many among us know only a couple of things about the GDP: (1) up is good and down is bad and (2) that the initials stand for Gross Domestic Product, which sounds like a cooking experiment gone wrong, but turns out to be considerably more mathematical.

This episode chronicles the history of this complex calculation, and where women do and don’t come into the picture.

Selected Sources

One of many sources for this week was Diane Coyle’s GDP: A brief but affectionate history. I personally always appreciate brief. This one had a few sections that made my gray cells wobble into jelly, but overall it was very readable for a non-economist.

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The incredible Maddison project which tracks GDP across the world dating back to the year 1 is here.

The OECD’s stats on unequal shares of unpaid labor can be found here, while the McKinsey survey on gender parity and the economy is here.

The Investopedia article that suggests that my days as a homemaker were seriously underpaid is here.

Alternatives to the GDP include the Human Development Index, which you can read about here.

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