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Studying at-home income generation: Issues and methods


Methods used to locate and study 899 home-based workers and their households in nine states are described in detail, with emphasis on the rationale behind the decisions about the definition of home-based work, sampling, the development of the interview schedule, data collection procedures, and data preparation. More than 10% of all households in the nine states include someone who is engaged in home-based work; 7% of the households have a member who has been engaged in the activity for more than 1 year and who spends at least 312 hours annually in the activity. The respondents have a mean age of 42.5 years, and have completed a mean of 13.8 years of education. More than half live in communities of 2,500 or over, and have lived there for more than 10 years. More than 40% of the sample consist of individuals who are married and have children living in the home. The average household income in 1988 was just over $42,000.

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This article reports results from the Cooperative Regional Research Project, NE-167, entitled, “At-Home Income Generation: Impact on Management, Productivity and Stability in Rural/Urban Families,” partially supported by the Cooperative States Research Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture and the Experiment Stations at the University of Hawaii, Iowa State University, Lincoln University (Missouri), Michigan State University, Cornell University (New York), The Ohio State University, The Pennsylvania State University, Utah State University, and the University of Vermont.

In addition to at-home income generation, her research interests include divorce settlements and time use. She received her Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1978.

Her current research interests include family resource management in Mexico, determinants and consequences of intergenerational co-residence, as well as family management in households in which there is at-home income generation. She received her Ph.D. from The Pennsylvania State University in 1970.

Her dissertation involves the estimation of a reservation age for home-based workers.

She has had 15 years of experience in survey research, 10 years as Projects Coordinator, and served as Project Manager for this study.

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Stafford, K., Winter, M., Duncan, K.A. et al. Studying at-home income generation: Issues and methods. J Fam Econ Iss 13, 139–158 (1992).

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Key words

  • at-home income generation
  • home-based business
  • home-based work
  • research methods