Skip to main content

What Are the Economics of Household Labour? Andrew Eyles, Sonia Oreffice, Mary Ann Sieghart, Sarah Smith and Diane Coyle

Festival of Economics
Household Labour credit Willem Hampson

We The Curious  |  £8 / £6

Share this

Our panellists discuss how work in the home might best be assessed in terms of its economic value.

Household labour has – notoriously – never been included in how the economy is measured. But lockdowns have made it impossible to ignore how important it is to our lives – and the economy. Will the experience of ‘working from home’ (as if nobody was working at home before) finally change how we think about the fundamental importance of this activity?

Andrew Eyles (LSE), Sonia Oreffice (University of Exeter), Mary Ann Sieghart and Sarah Smith (University of Bristol) are in conversation with Diane Coyle.

Diane Coyle’s Cogs and Monsters: What Economics Is, and What It Should Be in published by Princeton University Press. Mary Ann Sieghart’s The Authority Gap: Why Women Are Still Taken Less Seriously Than Men, and What We Can Do About It is published by Transworld. Buy a copy from our partners Waterstones online or at the event.

Image is a detail from promotional image for the 2021 Festival of Economics created by Willem Hampson.

Supported by

Our tenth Festival of Economics run Wednesday 17 – Friday 19 November 2021. It is co-programmed by Diane Coyle (University of Cambridge and Enlightenment Economics) and Richard Davies (professor of Public Understanding of Economics, Bristol University and author of Extreme Economies). You can see the full programme here.

Diane Coyle

Diane Coyle is the Bennett Professor of Public Policy at the University of Cambridge. Her books include GDP: A Brief but Affectionate HistoryThe Economics of Enough: How to Run the Economy as If the Future Matters, and The Soulful Science: What Economists Really Do and Why It Matters (all Princeton University Press). She has been the programme director of Bristol Festival of Economics since it started in 2001 and now co-directs it with Richard Davies. Follow her on Twitter @DianeCoyle1859

Andy Eyles

Andrew Eyles is a research economist at the Centre for Economic Performance, LSE. His current research interests are in the economics of education, the economic determinants of criminality, and social mobility.

Sonia Oreffice

Sonia Oreffice is Professor of Economics in the Department of Economics of the University of Exeter, and a Co-Editor of the Review of Economics of the Household. Before joining Exeter in September 2018, she worked at University of Surrey, Universidad de Alicante, CCNY-CUNY, and Clemson University. She obtained her PhD in Economics from the University of Chicago in 2004, and her BA in Economics at the Universita’ di Venezia (Italy) in 1998. Her research interests are in labour economics, family economics, marriage market matching, health economics, and applied microeconomics.

Mary Ann Sieghart

Mary Ann Sieghart spent 20 years as Assistant Editor and columnist at The Times and won a large following for her columns on politics, economics, feminism, parenthood and life in general. She has presented many programmes on BBC Radio 4, such as Start the Week, Profile, Analysis and One to One. She chaired the revival of The Brains Trust on BBC2 and recently spent a year as a Visiting Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. She has chaired the Social Market Foundation think tank and sits on numerous boards.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is a Professor of Economics at the University of Bristol. Her research interests are in applied micro – specifically consumer behaviour and public economics. She has worked on pensions, saving, retirement and welfare policy and the economics of not-for-profit organisations. She works with a number of charity organisations to understand what motivates individuals to give and how donations respond to different (economic and non-economic) incentives. She is a research associate at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, where she started her career and at CEPR. She has also worked at HM Treasury, the Financial Services Authority and the London School of Economics.

Booking Information

Ticket booking is via Eventbrite. Please review Eventbrite’s terms and conditions and Privacy Policy as Bristol Ideas do not accept any responsibility or liability for the policies. You can read Bristol Ideas’ Privacy policy here.

Please note we only refund tickets if the event is cancelled. Events start punctually and, out of consideration to other audience members and speakers, our policy is not to admit or issue refunds to latecomers. Full Terms and Conditions here.

Keeping Everyone Safe: NHS COVID Pass

We The Curious and Bristol Ideas want to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit for all. The event capacity has returned to normal and as seating will not be socially distanced, the NHS Covid Pass will be a requirement for all ticket holders over the age of 18. We reserve the right to refuse entry for people without this. Please arrive 30 minutes before the start of the event.

We will ask to see one of the following before you enter:

Proof of your double vaccination (you can do this through the NHS App, with a NHS COVID Pass letter or your vaccination card confirming your 2nd dose).


A negative lateral flow or PCR test taken 48 hours before your visit. You will need to register your lateral flow test and access the QR code on the NHS App or show other proof of the test, for example a text message from NHS.

More information on the NHS COVID Pass and how to access the above documents can be found here:

We ask that inside the venue you continue to:

  • Remain mindful of others and make space when moving around the venue.
  • Wear a face covering if you can.
  • Regularly wash and sanitise your hands.

Thank you for your cooperation and your efforts to keep your fellow audience and the venue staff safe.

Ticket Information:

Online ticket booking is via Eventbrite. Please note that Eventbrite is a third-party service that is not owned or managed by Bristol Ideas. Please review Eventbrite’s terms and conditions and Privacy Policy as we do not accept any responsibility or liability for the policies. You can read Bristol Ideas’ Privacy policy here.

CONCESSIONS apply to Full Time Students, Job Seekers Allowance, Incapacity Benefit claimants, over 60s and disabled people. PARTNER RATE is for staff, students or members at the following organisations: Arts Council England, Bristol City Council, Business West, University of Bristol and UWE. Please note that you will be asked of proof for your eligibility of a concession or partner rate ticket. No refunds/exchanges are possible for tickets already purchased at the higher price.

One free carer ticket can be provided for each paying disabled visitor, please contact us before booking to arrange.

We only refund tickets if the event is cancelled. Events start punctually and, out of consideration to other audience members and speakers, our policy is not to admit or issue refunds to latecomers. Full Terms and Conditions here.

Accessibility: We The Curious

One free carer ticket can be provided for each paying disabled visitor, please contact us before booking to arrange.

  • There are lifts to the We The Curious event space (Rosalind Franklin Room).
  • There is a hearing loop system.
  • There are accessible toilets for public use.
  • There is a fully accessible on-site car park.
  • Guide and assistance dogs are welcome.

More information about visiting We The Curious can be found here.

Your web browser is out of date. Update your browser for more security, speed and the best experience on this site.

Find out how to update