Saturday, June 7, 2014

Liesure Time for Mothers Is an Economic Good

A recent story on Bloomberg News reports that increasing numbers of women in Canada are deciding to stay home with children instead of continuing to supply labor in the marketplace. According to the author Greg Quinn, the downside to this trend is that such decisions "cuts growth."
The choices of people such as Recoskie may spell trouble for Canada and other economies with aging workforces, which have been supported in recent decades by women who broke social barriers to join the labor market. The long-term economic growth trend in Canada will slow because female participation in the workforce has probably crested, says Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development economist Peter Jarrett.

What this analysis fails to recognize is that leisure time spent raising children is an economic good. If women voluntarily make this choice, they demonstrate that they value this more highly than their employment opportunities. We ought not give into the temptation that all of human welfare is encapsulated in GDP. Even if such decisions do result in fewer commodities and services being supplied in the market place, paying higher prices to ration these goods is the only peaceful way to harmonize conflicting interests. 

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