The Levy Institute Measure of Time and Income PovertyIn 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 Project Reports | July 2021
Evidence from sub-Saharan AfricaGender 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.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 970 | September 2020This paper presents a description of the quality of match of the statistical matches used in the Levy Institute Measure of Time and Consumption Poverty (LIMTCP) estimates prepared for Ethiopia and South Africa. For Ethiopia, the statistical match combines the Ethiopian Socio-economic Survey—Wave 3—2015/2016 (ESS) with the Ethiopian Time Use Survey (ETUS) 2013. For South Africa it combines the October Household Survey (OHS) 1998 with the time use data obtained from the SA-Time Use Survey (SATUS) 2000, and the South African Living Conditions Survey (SALCS) 2014/2015 with the SATUS 2010. In all cases, the alignment of the two datasets is examined, after which various aspects of the match quality are described. Despite the differences in the survey years, the quality of match for South Africa is high and the synthetic dataset appropriate for the time poverty analysis. For Ethiopia, due to data quality differences, we restrict the analysis to married couple households with an employed spouse and young children. Conditioning on the restriction and sample reweighting, the Ethiopian synthetic dataset seems appropriate for the time poverty analysis.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 967 | September 2020This paper assesses the quality of the statistical matching used in the LIMTIP estimates for Italy for 2008 and 2014. The match combines the 2008–9 and 2013–14 Italian Time Use Survey (IT-TUS) with the Italian data collected for the European Survey on Income and Living Conditions (IT-SILC) in 2009 and 2015. After the matching, the analysis of the joint distributions of the variables shows that the quality is good.
The preliminary results of the LIMTIP estimates in Italy display widespread time poverty, which translates into significant hidden poverty. The LIMTIP also reveals that the increase in the poverty rate between 2008 and 2014 was even higher that what standard poverty measures report.Download:Associated Program(s):The Distribution of Income and Wealth The Levy Institute Measure of Time and Income Poverty The State of the US and World EconomiesAuthor(s):Erica AloèRelated Topic(s):Household production Italy Levy Institute Measure of Time and Income Poverty (LIMTIP) Poverty Statistical matching Time useRegion(s):Europe
Research Project Reports | September 2019
A Macro-Micro Policy Model for Ghana and TanzaniaFeminist economics has long emphasized the role of physical and social infrastructure as determinants of the time women spend on household production (the provision of unpaid domestic services and care). Surprisingly, there is a lack of studies that directly investigate how infrastructure improvements affect the time spent on household production and commuting to work, which is another important unpaid activity for most employed individuals. We attempt to fill the lacunae in the research by studying this issue in the context of Ghana and Tanzania utilizing the framework of the Levy Institute Measure of Time and Income Poverty. Separately, while there are several studies (including those done previously at the Levy Institute) on the macroeconomic impacts of government expenditures on care, these assessments tend to be based primarily on employment multipliers along with simple macroeconomic assumptions. We develop a disaggregated and fully articulated macroeconomic model based on the social accounting matrices for the two countries to take account of the intersectoral linkages and external constraints, such as balance of payments, that are particularly important for many developing nations, including Ghana and Tanzania. The macro- and microeconomic aspects are integrated in a unified analytical framework via a top-down disaggregated macroeconomic model with microsimulation that is novel in that it enables the investigation of the gendered economic processes and outcomes at the macroeconomic and microeconomic levels.
Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Ajit Zacharias Thomas Masterson Fernando Rios-Avila Michalis Nikiforos Kijong Kim Tamar KhitarishviliRelated Topic(s):
Research Project Reports | August 2018
The Levy Institute Measure of Time and Consumption PovertyTime constraints that stem from the overlapping domains of paid and unpaid work are of central concern to the debates surrounding the economic development of developing countries in general and countries of sub-Saharan Africa in particular. Time deficits due to household production are especially acute in these countries due to the poor state of social and physical infrastructure, which constrains the time allocation people can choose.
Standard measures of poverty fail to capture hardships caused by time deficits. This report applies a methodological approach that incorporates time deficits into the measurement of poverty, known as the Levy Institute Measure of Time and Consumption Poverty (LIMTCP), to the cases of Ghana and Tanzania. The LIMTCP explicitly recognizes the role of time constraints and, as such, has the potential to meaningfully inform the design of policies aimed at poverty reduction and improvement of individual and household well-being. The analysis of simulation exercises assessing the impact of paid employment provision on official and LIMTCP poverty rates has strong implications for policies aimed at poverty reduction, emphasizing the need to account for alleviating not only income but also time constraints. It also has strong gender relevance, as time poverty is more relevant for women due to their disproportionate burden of household responsibilities. Our study argues that policies aimed at improving women’s labor market outcomes can also succeed at improving their well-being only if time constraints are addressed.Download:Associated Program:Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Policy Note 2018/4 | May 2018
Some Lessons from Ghana and TanzaniaIn this policy note, Thomas Masterson and Ajit Zacharias address the nexus between wage employment, consumption poverty, and time deficits in the context of Ghana and Tanzania. Based on a recently completed research project supported by the Hewlett Foundation, the authors apply the Levy Institute Measure of Time and Consumption Poverty (LIMTCP) to estimate whether the jobs that are likely to be available to potential employment-seeking, working-age individuals in consumption-poor households—who are predominantly female in both countries—can serve as vehicles of “economic empowerment.” They investigate this question using two indicators of empowerment, asking (1) whether the individual would be able to move their household to at least a minimal level of consumption via the additional earnings from their new job and (2) whether the individual would be deprived of the time required to meet the minimal needs of care for themselves (personal care), their homes, and their dependents.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Policy Note 2017/4 | November 2017The predominant framework for measuring poverty rests on an implicit assumption that everyone has enough time available to devote to household production or enough resources to compensate for deficits in household production by purchasing market substitutes. Senior Scholar Ajit Zacharias argues that this implicit bias in our official poverty statistics threatens to undermine the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The SDGs include the following targets: (1) reduce the incidence of poverty by 50 percent by 2030, and (2) recognize and provide support to the unpaid provision of domestic services and care of persons undertaken predominantly by women in their households. This policy note suggests that a closer link exists between poverty reduction and support for household production activities than is commonly acknowledged. Failure to recognize the link in policy design can contribute to failure on both fronts. To obtain a more accurate assessment of poverty, time deficits in household production must be taken into account.
Download:Associated Program(s):The Levy Institute Measure of Time and Income Poverty Gender Equality and the Economy The Distribution of Income and WealthAuthor(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 873 | September 2016
This document presents a description of the quality of match of the statistical matches used in the LIMTCP estimates prepared for Ghana and Tanzania. For Ghana, the statistical match combines the Living Standards Survey Round 6 (GLSS6) with the Ghana Time Use Survey (GTUS) 2009, and for Tanzania it combines the Household Budget Survey (THBS) 2012 with the time-use data obtained from the Integrated Labor Survey Module (ILFS) 2006. In both cases, the alignment of the two datasets is examined, after which various aspects of the match quality are described. Despite the differences in the survey years, the quality of match is high and the synthetic dataset appropriate for the time poverty analysis.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 871 | August 2016
New methodology for producing employment microsimulations is introduced, with a focus on farms and household nonfarm enterprises. Previous simulations have not dealt with the issue of reduced production in farm and nonfarm household enterprises when household members are placed in paid employment. In this paper, we present a method for addressing the tradeoff between paid employment and the farm and nonfarm business activities individuals may already be engaged in. The implementation of the simulations for Ghana and Tanzania is described and the quality of the simulation results is assessed.Download:Associated Program(s):Author(s):Related Topic(s):
Working Paper No. 865 | May 2016
Why Time Deficits Matter
We describe the production of estimates of the Levy Institute Measure of Time and Income Poverty (LIMTIP) for Buenos Aires, Argentina, and use it to analyze the incidence of time and income poverty. We find high numbers of hidden poor—those who are not poor according to the official measure but are found to be poor when using our time-adjusted poverty line. Large time deficits for those living just above the official poverty line are the reason for this hidden poverty. Time deficits are unevenly distributed by employment status, family type, and especially gender. Simulations of the impact of full-time employment on those households with nonworking (for pay) adults indicate that reductions in income poverty can be achieved, but at the cost of increased time poverty. Policy interventions that address the lack of both income and time are discussed.Download:Associated Program(s):The Distribution of Income and Wealth Gender Equality and the Economy The Levy Institute Measure of Time and Income Poverty Hewlett Foundation–Levy Institute ProjectAuthor(s):Related Topic(s):