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I am a former law professor now in private practice in Washington, D.C. I have a case which involves the death of a woman during childbirth. The child is three and fine. Generally in cases like this lawyers hire economists to discuss the "replacement value" of a mother. The economist then equates the replacement cost at the cost of custodial help for 20-30 hours per week. This has proven a totally inadequate means of calculating the loss in a case like this, which are altogether too common. I am interested in any information or leads to contacts in business or academia who have studied this issue in order to convince a judge that if one must quantify this loss a composite should be used drawn from wage scales of psychologists,chefs,chaffeurs etc. Do you know of such a person? Any help would be appreciated. Thank you, Bruce

Thank you for your note. And I think I have some information that will help you with your case. For instance, there was a group in Canada that fought for women's work to be included in the GNP--this increased the countries GNP by about 30%. To learn more about this and also to get a larger conversation of this issue you should see Gloria Steinem's article "Revaluing Economics", which can be found in her book Moving Beyond Words. (If you send me your mailing address and/or fax, I'd be happy to send it to you.) This essay also references the work of Marily Waring, a New Zealand economist and Hazel Henderson a U.S. Economist--both of whom have explored these issues.

And in 1973 Chase Manhattan Bank did an experiment where it attempted to value the work done in the home. I don't have the original study, only a reference that was made by Gwendonlyn Mink as professor at University of California Santa Cruz.

There is also an attorney Gail Koff--who is based in New York, I can't remember the firm, but it is one of those big ones that does lots of advertising--and she has explored similar issues.

I hope all of that combined information helps.


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