Patrick Fagan, former Heritage Foundation scholar who is now with The Family Research Council writes about a little known fact about GDP titled “The Family GDP: How Marriage and Fertility Drive the Economy” which can be found in the Spring 2010 issue of The Family in America. That little known fact has to do with the unpaid human capital that stay-at-home moms contribute to the economy. If you didn’t know it already, “Moms are the Engine of the Economy.” If you need to be convinced, Mr. Fagan’s article could help you down the road to conversion. The link to the journal is here and you can read part of his article on The Ruth Institute blog here.
Brandon Dutcher, VP of Policy at The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs wrote an op-ed in The Oklahoman referencing Fagan’s article. Quoting Dutcher in his op-ed who is quoting Fagan:
“The married homemaker who focuses her attention on the children, hearth and home has rarely been acknowledged for the economic force that she is,” Fagan says. “Paraphrasing Teddy Roosevelt, who rebutted those who claimed she is a parasite, the married mother at home is the economy.”
How so? “First, she raises the future labor force; second, her at-home labor saves the family money; and third, by tending to details on the home front, she both allows and motivates her husband to be fully committed to his occupation, job or profession.”
Fagan says the Nobel Prize-winning economist Gary Becker once suggested to him that “the married mother at home exerts a more far-reaching impact on the economy than the married father in the workplace” (emphasis mine). After all, “the mother contributes to both the present and future economy, but especially the future through the more highly productive children she raises.”
Fagan also states that mothers contribute the necessary next generation of human capital to the economy. In my humble opinion, this is the gift that keeps on giving. The high quality human capital that stay-at-home moms contribute creates a stable and durable economy. Stay-at-home moms are in it for the long-run. Mom’s efforts pay dividends in the future if she raises high-quality kids and this effort is duplicated throughout generations. However, if we teach our daughters to be workers instead of mothers, we increase the number of Keynesians. And thus, we have women who want to raise up government instead of children.