Unrevealing Time Use as a Capability: an alternative Dimension to Include in a Multidimensional Well-Being Index

Tromben, Varinia (1); Benvin, Evelyn (2); Rivera, Elizabeth (2) (2016). 'Unrevealing Time Use as a Capability: an alternative Dimension to Include in a Multidimensional Well-Being Index' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA, Tokyo 2016.

abstract In this research, the overall objective is to unravel some of the complexity underlying time-use as a capability by using the Alkire and Foster multidimensional poverty methodology and integrating a gender perspective in the context of households in four Latin American countries: Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Uruguay. We propose to examine the concept of time-use as a capability for non-paid and paid work, due to its role as an individual and relational key factor that shapes the development of human capabilities at the household level, which are linked to the women‘s and men’s ability and opportunity to overcome socioeconomic constraints, cultural barriers, and intra-household inequalities. This multidimensional well being indicator also includes standard dimensions linked to education, living standards, and social exclusion.   The main motivation of this research is twofold: (1) to analyze the implications of considering time as an asset and develop a conceptual proposal using the capabilities approach to include time-use and other dimensions in a multidimensional well being index; (2) to implement the proposal with four Latin-American countries, identify those households and regions that are multidimensional poor due to time-use deprivation and well-being deprivations and estimate their contribution to the overall multidimensional poverty index by using time use and household surveys. The research findings would allow the determination of how time use deprivations affect households’ well-being. They would also inform whether time-use deprived individuals spend a minimum time to pursue a more equal intra-household time distribution that would increase their future well-being conditions. From a conceptual point of view, one main challenge of this paper is to disentangle the implications of defining the components of a multidimensional well-being index by considering the time-use as an asset and a capability and compare these approaches regarding time-use previous conceptualization. From a methodological perspective we apply the Alkire and Foster’s methodology and propose five dimensions (time, living conditions, economic autonomy, education and social exclusion) with a total of fourteen indicators. Two dimensions (time use and economic autonomy) are constructed with a gender perspective in order to monitor public policies that pursue gender equality. The policy implications of our findings will contribute to 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 use deprivations then policies that focus on intra-household inequality might require developing conditions for advancing on the distribution of social justice at the household level. Finally, understanding the effect of time use disparities on poverty will allow progress in research related to distributional justice within households from a gender and capability approach perspectives.

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