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Macro-Level Determinants of Paid Domestic Labour Prevalence: A Cross-National Analysis of Seventy-Four Countries

  • Merita Jokela (a1)


The growing demand for domestic workers has been linked to several global developments, such as an ageing population, income inequality, the growth of women entering labour markets, migration and changes in the provision of care. However, empirical quantitative evidence for these associations is still scarce. This study examines how macro-level factors related to care needs (female employment rates and proportion of aged population), labour markets (proportion of migrants and vulnerable employment) and economic characteristics (gross domestic product, income inequality and level of urbanisation) are associated with the prevalence of paid domestic labour across seventy-four countries. Data are derived from the statistics compiled by the International Labour Organization (ILO). Results show that a higher prevalence of paid domestic workers is particularly associated with greater income inequality, but also with a higher proportion of migrants. The association with income inequality remained unchanged after controlling for six other variables related to the demand and supply of domestic services. These findings suggest that income inequality is a crucial factor in determining the proportion of domestic workers in the labour force.



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