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«State expenditure of the Canton of Basel-Stadt and unpaid work Summary Mirjam von Felten This study examines the question of whether cuts in public ...»

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Chapter III

State expenditure of the

Canton of Basel-Stadt and

unpaid work


Mirjam von Felten

This study examines the question of whether cuts in public goods and services

in the canton of Basel-Stadt are causing a shift of tasks to the private, unpaid area,

where it is largely women who provide nursing and other care.

In the first part of the study, unpaid labour in Basel-Stadt is factored into the

welfare economy and its economic importance is determined. The results show that, in 2000, men and women worked more unpaid hours than paid (204.4 versus 173.3 million hours). Preparing meals and related tasks such as setting the table and washing dishes represent by far the main activity of inhabitants of the canton of Basel-Stadt. The 63.5 million hours spent on such activities are slightly more than the hours worked by the population of Basel-Stadt in the manufacturing industry, commerce, trade and the construction sector.

Women with children under the age of 15 are exposed to a particularly heavy burden of unpaid labour, providing over half the care for children and adults in need of care, although they make up only one tenth of the population (above age 15). A more extensive comparison with the overall economy of the canton sheds further light on the amount of unpaid work and the asymmetrical distribution between men and women: The gross domestic product for Basel-Stadt would be some 33% higher if the monetary value of unpaid labour were included.

This raises the question of how the distribution of paid and unpaid labour can be changed.

The author outlines five options which can relieve women of some of the unpaid

work they perform:

1. Through technological progress in the household;

2. By men performing some of the unpaid tasks;

3. By no longer performing some tasks;

4. By the state taking over tasks currently performed by women;

5. By the market taking over tasks currently performed by women.

If the workload of women is to change substantially, budget policy should not stop at an equal distribution of state resources between the sexes; it must formulate possible economic policy scenarios for ways in which to relieve women of unpaid work in future.

The second part of the study examines the potential impact on unpaid labour of the cost-cutting measures initiated in the 1990s by the canton of Basel-Stadt.

Since unpaid labour is a relatively new field of research with (as yet) insufficient data, the study constitutes more of an approach to questions requiring further indepth analysis than an answer in itself.

State expenditure of the Canton of Basel-Stadt and unpaid work 100 Gender-responsive budget analysis in the Canton of Basel-Stadt, Switzerland Preliminary findings show that public spending with possible knock-on costs for unpaid work rose less sharply between 1990 and 2000 than in areas which, according to experts’ assessments, had no influence on unpaid work. This was due to developments in the healthcare system, especially in hospitals, where personnel expenditure declined in the mid-1990s and there was a shift from inpatient to outpatient care. This raises the question of whether and to what extent these (cost-cutting) measures, above all the decline in average length of stay in a hospital, resulted in a shift of public goods and services to the unpaid private sector. Initial indications show that unmarried persons stay in hospital longer, on average, than married persons, and that discharged patients increasingly request subsequent consultation.

The case of day-care also permits only a sketchy examination of the impact on unpaid labour of cuts in public spending. The analysis shows that expenditure on child day-care rose between 1995 and 2001 at a below-average rate from CHF

16.5 million to CHF 18 million. Although the number of publicly subsidised daycare places declined (dropping by 7.3% in crèches and day nurseries), 11.4% more children were looked after in 2001 than in 1995.

This trend is probably attributable to the fact that, following the increase in parental contributions in September 1994, children were withdrawn from public day-care facilities while at the same time the need for part-time care rose sharply.

Overall, however, the decline in the provision of day-care was less relevant, since during the same period the number of children in the 0-14 age group residing in the canton of Basel-Stadt dropped. On the other hand, unsubsidised institutions significantly expanded their care services (between 1998 and 2002 the number of day-care places increased by almost 50% from 441 to 623), resulting in a shift in day-care from the public to the private sector.

The main point, however, is that cost saving not only means cuts in spending but also involves the non-provision of wanted services. The decline in subsidised day-care places is diametrically opposed to the demand curve, given the fact that demand for day-care places has risen sharply since 1997. As a result, measures to economise on day-care probably meant that, because of child care, a substantial proportion of women were unable to go out to work or work only for a limited number of hours, or that other persons such as grandmothers looked after children while mothers took up gainful employment.

The concluding section of this study reiterates two problems concerning methodology:

1. The further development of the BASS method has been tested in this study but must be further refined in certain areas.

2. On the one hand, the unsatisfactory situation with regard to data means that existing statistics need to be codified according to additional attributes, and on the other hand it clearly highlights the areas where additional data need to be obtained through surveys.

State expenditure of the Canton of Basel-Stadt and unpaid work 101 Gender-responsive budget analysis in the Canton of Basel-Stadt, Switzerland Introduction Mascha Madoerin and Andrea Pfeifer This component of the gender-related expenditure analysis of the canton of Basel-Stadt studies the impact of budget decisions on unpaid male and female labour. In line with the credit application by Sibylle Schürch1, the aim is to refine the method used in the “Saving on women” study by Tobias Bauer and Beat Baumann (“BASS Method”) and apply it to the canton of Basel-Stadt. The questions asked are predicated on the assumption that a policy decision against the provision of public goods and services may cause a shift of tasks into the private area and hence largely onto the shoulders of women, who perform the majority of unpaid work in our society.

An analysis that attempts to determine the impact of public spending on unpaid labour is faced with two difficulties: One concerns the theoretical approach of the study, while the other concerns the data set. In contrast to the question of the benefit or beneficiaries of public goods and services and the state’s employment of men and women, there are very few studies and economic concepts concerning how unpaid labour is to be understood as part of the welfare economy of a community, canton or the entire country, and how the economic relationships between the public and private sector as well as the household sector are to be analysed.2 Economic theory and statistics analyse and record households in which the lion’s share of unpaid labour is performed as a consumer unit and not as a production unit. Up to now, unpaid labour has been assumed to be a non-economic commodity that is freely available and flexible. To date, the fact that women only have 24 hours a day at their disposal has been virtually ignored.

This situation also gives rise to problems related to data: Since the idea of including unpaid labour in the overall economic account is very new, data on unpaid labour have only recently become available. The first survey was conducted in 1997 as part of the Swiss Labour Force Survey (SLFS), and the second in 2000.

However, there are no data available covering longer time spans which could be used to examine the statistical relationship between cantonal spending and unpaid labour.

Let us take as an example the relationship between the trend in cantonal expenditure on nursing staff and the time spent in private households on caring and provisioning. Even if such analyses could provide important initial indications of the impact on public spending cuts on unpaid labour, the interpretation would still be difficult.

1 See Introduction pp. 14-15 (description of credit application by Schürch).

2 Such model concepts are still in their infancy.

State expenditure of the Canton of Basel-Stadt and unpaid work 102 Gender-responsive budget analysis in the Canton of Basel-Stadt, Switzerland Could additional factors, such as new technology in hospitals or households, new nursing services in the private sector or changes in nursing and caring requirements, be responsible for the existence or absence of any relationship? Additional targeted surveys are required in order to evaluate the impact of individual cost-saving measures. Suggestions are presented in the final section.

The aforementioned difficulties involved in analysing the impact on unpaid labour of public spending behaviour dictate the procedure and structure of the

following study. It is divided into two parts:

• The first part shows the magnitude and hence the significance of unpaid labour for the welfare economy of the canton of Basel-Stadt in 2000. The data are taken from the SLFS Swiss Labour Force Study conducted in 2000. The study identifies the type of unpaid labour performed by men and women, with or without young children, and the time devoted to such tasks. It also calculates how much this work would cost. This amount is contrasted with paid labour.

The second part integrates unpaid labour in the gross domestic product and compares the provision of care, as a form of “real tax”, against public income and expenditure.

• The second part examines whether and in what way changes in cantonal spending behaviour between 1990 and 2000 had an impact on unpaid labour.

The functional breakdown followed by the Federal Finance Administration was used as the base data set. It is assumed that there is work that has to be done in order to allow children to grow and people to live. Some of this work is performed in the public sector, some in the private sector, and a large proportion is performed without pay in households, informal networks or public institutions. What happens when the state stops providing some of these services?

This is the central question in this part. The first stage – in line with the BASS study method – analyses the way in which items of expenditure which experts believe to be important for unpaid labour developed between 1990 and 2000 compared to the total cantonal expenditure. Next, the BASS method is refined by determining more accurately the relationship between public expenditure and unpaid labour on the basis of two examples: expenditure on hospitals and expenditure on day-care for children. This detailed view results in a representative presentation of the impact of spending on unpaid nursing and care work performed in or outside the home. Because of the lack of time series data on unpaid labour and due to the influence of various factors, however, it will not be possible to make a conclusive assessment. The analysis represents more of an approach to questions for further in-depth study than an answer per se.

• The final part formulates recommendations on ways of further developing gender-disaggregated budget analysis, and assesses the benefits of the BASS method.

–  –  –

Magnitude and economic significance of unpaid labour in the Canton of Basel-Stadt Mascha Madoerin From an economic viewpoint, various questions must be asked when analysing

the impact of public expenditure on unpaid labour:

• What is the volume of unpaid labour compared to paid labour?

• Who performs it?

• What economic function does it perform and what type of goods and services are involved?

• What is the relationship between paid and unpaid labour?

• What is the economic relationship between public expenditure and unpaid labour?

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