Abena D. Oduro

  • Evidence from sub-Saharan Africa
    Gender disparity in the division of responsibilities for unpaid care and domestic work (household production) is a central and pervasive component of inequalities between men and women and boys and girls. Reducing disparity in household production figures as one element of the goal of gender equality enshrined in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and feminist scholars and political activists have articulated that the redistribution of household production responsibilities from females to males is important for its own sake, as well as for achieving gender equality in labor market outcomes. A cursory examination of available cross-country data indicates that higher per capita GDP—the neoliberal panacea for most societal malaise—provides little bulwark against the gender inequality in household production.
    Ajit Zacharias, Thomas Masterson, Fernando Rios-Avila, and Abena D. Oduro contribute to the literature on the intrahousehold distribution of household production by placing the question within a framework of analyzing deprivation, applying that framework to better understand the interactions between poverty and the gendered division of labor in four sub-Saharan African nations: Ethiopia, Ghana, South Africa, and Tanzania. Central to their framework is the notion that attaining a minimal standard of living requires command over an adequate basket of commodities and sufficient time to be spent on home production, where meeting those requirements produces benefits for all—including those beyond the household.
    Their findings motivate questions regarding the feasibility and effectiveness of redistribution of household responsibilities to alleviate time deficits and their impoverishing effects. By developing a framework to assess the mechanics of redistribution among family members and applying it to gender-based redistribution, they derive the maximum extent to which redistribution—either among all family members, between sexes, or between husbands and wives—can lower the incidence of time deficits. The conclude with a discussion of alternative principles of distributing household production responsibilities among family members and examine their impact on the Levy Institute Measure of Time and Income Poverty (LIMTCP) and discuss some policy questions in light of their findings.

  • Working Paper No. 983 | February 2021
    A Comparative Analysis for Sub-Saharan African Countries
    In this working paper, we analyze factors that may explain gender differences in the allocation of time to household production in sub-Saharan Africa. The study uses time use survey data to analyze the determinants of time spent on household production by husbands and wives in nuclear families in Ethiopia, Ghana, Tanzania, and South Africa. We assume that the time spent by each spouse is a function of personal and household characteristics. A bivariate Tobit model is used to estimate the marginal impact of a set of key variables that figure recurrently in the literature on time allocation. We observe a high degree of variability in the results for the set of countries, which does not allow us to draw hard general conclusions. We do find some weak evidence that supports time availability and gender ideology theory as well as for the hypothesis that bargaining power plays a role in explaining the intrahousehold allocation of household production.

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