Unrevealing Time Autonomy as a Capability: An Alternative Dimension to Include in the Multidimensional Poverty Index

Rivera, Elizabeth Gomez (2014). 'Unrevealing Time Autonomy as a Capability: An Alternative Dimension to Include in the Multidimensional Poverty Index' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA, 2-5 September 2014, Athens, Greece.

In this research, the overall objective is to unravel some of the complexity underlying time autonomy as a capability using the Alkire and Foster multidimensional poverty methodology and integrating a gender perspective in the context of households in five Latin American countries: Mexico, Ecuador, Uruguay, Panama, and Colombia. In particular, I examine time autonomies as capabilities for non-paid and paid work and leisure activities. The role of time autonomy is as an individual and relational key factor that shapes the development of human capabilities at the household level, which are linked to women's and men's ability and opportunity to overcome socioeconomic constraints, cultural barriers, and intra-household inequalities. This multidimensional poverty indicator includes other dimensions linked to education, living standards, and social exclusion.

The main motivation of this research is twofold: (1) to identify those households and regions that are poor due to lack of time autonomy and well being deprivations, and (2) to estimate their contribution to the overall multidimensional poverty index by analyzing time use and household surveys[1]. The research findings would allow the determination of the effect of time autonomy deprivations on households' poverty levels. They would also shed some light on whether time autonomy deprived individuals have a minimum time to pursue a higher level of distributional justice within households that would increase their future well-being conditions.

The policy implications of our findings will be crucial in developing public policies that aim to address structural and temporal poverty. If a significant part of the multidimensional poverty index is explained by the well-being deprivations, then better policies are required to alleviate these deficits. If, instead, this index is mostly explained by time autonomy deprivations, then policies that focus on intra-household inequality might require developing conditions that will allow a progress in the distribution of social justice at the household level. Finally, understanding the effect of time autonomy disparities on poverty will be crucial in contributing to research related to distributional justice within households from a gender and capability approach.

[1] The research is conducted by using household survey of Mexico (2010) and Uruguay (2007) and time use surveys of Mexico (2009), Ecuador (2012), Colombia 2012 (EUT) and Panama (2011).


scroll to top