Academic journal article Economics & Sociology

Gdp, Time Allocation and Annual Time Worked per Adult in Central and Eastern European Countries

Academic journal article Economics & Sociology

Gdp, Time Allocation and Annual Time Worked per Adult in Central and Eastern European Countries

Article excerpt

Received: July, 2016

1st Revision: October, 2016

Accepted: February, 2017


For decades, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) maintained tight control over the present-day countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). They were either an integral part of the socialist state, or a kind of satellite within the so-called Eastern Bloc formed after World War 2. In the early 1990s, as a result of the Soviet Union's collapse, the situation changed. Regaining independence and the resultant opening up of the economies to cooperation with Western Europe and the US marked the beginning of the transformation processes. In each country the transformation was characterised by different intensities, leading to differing levels of prosperity. These political, economic and social changes were accompanied by certain processes taking place on a global scale, including the information revolution, the growth of female participation in the labour market, the marketization of domestic production, and the increasing role of the service sector in the structure of economies. Virtually all of these phenomena had a significant impact on people's time allocation, exerting a different influence on the behaviour of men and women (Freeman and Schettkat, 2005; Lee and Wolpin, 2010; Bridgman, 2013; Ngai and Petrongolo, 2014).

An interesting direction of research in this area is an analysis of the decisions taken within households and the changes in the standard of living of their members (Hill, 1979, pp. 31-39; Hawrylyshyn, 1977, pp. 79-96). In this case, the findings of sociological research should be complemented by observations done from the perspective of economics. Unfortunately, in economics the traditional methodology of explaining human behaviour overlooks a large part of the activities connected with managing limited resources. By investigating decisions taken in the context of monetary price and monetary income, economists naturally tend to focus their attention on the market activities of households. In this way, a significant part of economic decisions that are taken in the non-market sphere remain overlooked (Michael and Becker, 1973, p. 380). Numerous analyses show that the structure of total work time (market and household) depends on gender, with men usually performing more market work and women dominating in terms of non-market production activity (Gershuny and Robinson, 1988, pp. 544-545; Bianchi et al., 2000, p. 196; Eurostat, 2004, p. 75; Burda et al., 2006, pp. 15-16; Gimenez-Nadal and Sevilla, 2014, pp. 1901). In this context it is worth noting that the distinction between market work and leisure used in the traditional model of labour supply ignores non-market production activities, thereby reducing the role of women in creating that part of the social well-being of households which can be fulfilled through economic activity.

Gross domestic product, the commonly used measure of growth and prosperity at the macroeconomic level, focuses on market productivity activities, which means that the value of such statistics does not fully reflect the productive activities of societies or their wealth (Landfeld and McCulla, 2000, pp. 290-291; Goldschmidt-Clermont and Pagnossin-Aligisakis, 1999, p. 520). For a long time there have been calls for changing or expanding this aggregate and, more generally, for changing the system of national accounts (SNA) (Kuznets, 1934, p. 4; Hawrylyshyn, 1977, p. 94; Eisner, 1988, p. 1612; Lützel, 1989, p. 337; Landfeld and McCulla, 2000, p. 290). In recent times, which in this case means for more than two decades, there have been proposals for real change in this respect (System of National Accounts, 1993, p. 608 and following). The idea of so-called satellite accounts has a chance to be implemented and become a permanent instrument in official statistics. However, it will take some time before this happens.

It is also difficult not to agree with the argument that using such a macroeconomic indicator of market activity can lead to incorrect conclusions in international comparisons (Ferber and Birnbaum, 1980, p. …

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