Associated Programs

The Levy Institute Measure of Time and Income Poverty

The Levy Institute Measure of Time and Income Poverty

In addition to income inadequacies, the Levy Institute’s innovative Measure of Time and Income Poverty (LIMTIP) accounts for, and hence makes visible, the negative impact time deficits exert on living standards.

Income poverty customarily ascertains the ability of individuals and households to gain access to some minimal level of income (i.e., the poverty line), on the premise that such access ensures the fulfillment of a designated set of basic material needs. However, this approach neglects the fact that, in addition to a minimal basket of market purchases, daily reproduction of household members requires that some amount of time must be dedicated to necessary (unpaid) household production activities. Just as some households fail to gain access to sufficient income, we must also consider the possibility that households may fail to meet their basic household production requirements for lack of time. Time deficits may be so severe that, when accounted for, they bring to the fore households that are in fact in poverty but remain “hidden” from the policy radar.

Furthermore, LIMTIP builds on the supposition that, within the household, women and men do not partake equally in meeting household production requirements, nor do they face identical time deficits: existing data reveal that women contribute their time disproportionately to unpaid household activities. Accordingly, to assess inequalities between households and among individuals within households requires that we consider differentiation jointly across both income and household production dimensions. For that, it is imperative to understand how labor force participation and earnings interact with time dedicated to household production responsibilities. Such an understanding is particularly important for formulating policies that promote gender, social, and economic justice coherently and consistently.

In addition to providing a measurement framework that allows a better informed estimation of poverty rates and depth of poverty we employ a microsimulation model that is especially useful for policy impact analysis. Designed to track both income and time dimensions of inequalities, it can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of a policy intervention (or an economic event) in reduction of time and income poverty simultaneously.

The support of the United Nations Development Programme Regional Service Centre for Latin America and the Caribbean, particularly the Gender Practice, Poverty, and Millennium Development Goals areas, made the development of this framework possible.

Levy Institute–Hewlett Foundation Projects

Research Programs

Gender Equality and the Economy
The Distribution of Income and Wealth

Program Publications