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Lecture | November 2023

Well-being Costs of Unpaid Care: Gendered Evidence from a Contextualized Time-use Survey in India

Gender Equality and the Economy: Interdisciplinary Approaches
UPDATE: Postponed to Spring 2024 

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Join us for our second session with Aashima Sinha, Research Scholar, Levy Institute, Bard College, on Wednesday, November 15, from 5pm to 6pm in the Levy Conference Room, or on Zoom. Dr. Sinha's presentation will be followed by an open Q&A session with audience members—both those in person and on Zoom are welcome to ask questions. 

Light refreshments will be served. Register to attend via Zoom here.

Using a contextualized primary time-use survey (TUS) data, Dr. Sinha examines the gendered effects of unpaid care work on care providers’ well-being outcomes– labor supply, time allocation, life satisfaction, happiness, and health in India. A reduced form weighted composite score of health conditions and assistance need within the household, and presence of care centers in the community is used as an instrument for caregiving. Using two-stage least squared instrumental variables estimation, we find greater adverse effects of caregiving on women compared to men. An additional hour of caregiving reduces women’s: i) probability of labor market participation by 20 percentage points (pp) and their employment hours by over one hour per day; ii) self-care and socializing time; and iii) probability of life satisfaction and happiness; with either no significant or smaller negative effects for men. To our knowledge, this is the first attempt to implement a contextualized TUS, comprising rich data on households’ care needs, private and public care provisioning, households’ access to technology and consumer durables, gender norms, and women’s empowerment. Moreover, the first study in the context of India to provide gender-differentiated effects of unpaid care on well-being. The study draws policy implications focusing on interventions directed towards mitigating restrictive gender norms, access to durable goods and reducing the burden of domestic chores.

Aashima Sinha is a research scholar in the Levy Institute's Gender Equality and the Economy program. She holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Utah. Her research interests span the fields of feminist, development, and labor economics. Other areas of her research include violence against women, the human development costs of public space harassment, and international measures of gender inequality. She augments her research with policy evaluation and provides region-specific policy recommendations.

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