Vasudevan, R. and Raghavendra, S. (2022). Women’s self-employment as a developmental strategy: the dual constraints of care work and aggregate demand. Feminist Economics. 


The promotion of self-employment through financial inclusion initiatives has been adopted as a means of harnessing the entrepreneurial and productive capacities of women within the neoliberal developmental policy framework. This study presents a simple analytical model in the Post-Keynesian tradition to investigate the linkages between self-employment, aggregate demand, and unpaid care work by developing a two-sector model. It shows that a developmental strategy based on fostering women’s self-employment is constrained, on the one hand, by the macroeconomic conditions driving aggregate demand and, on the other, by the trade-off between the time allocation between unpaid care and paid work that the gendered division of care work responsibilities imposes on the self-employed woman worker. The promotion of self-employment cannot serve as a viable development strategy without policies that directly boost aggregate demand and at the same time relieve the burden of care responsibilities on women through public investment and social provision of care.

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