Ndirangu 2009b – Seasonal time poverty in Kenya

Despite early recognition of the importance of time poverty in people’s well-being, its empirical investigation and measurement in the literature remains scarce. This paper applies the concepts used in consumption and income poverty to time use to estimate seasonal time poverty for individuals using a nationally representative data set for Kenya. Despite high levels of unemployment, a substantial proportion of the population faces long hours of work in some months. The long hours of work may be linked to the need to maintain some consumption threshold especially among the poor uneducated individuals. However, in general, under-employment is widespread especially among the food poor individuals. This shows that the main constraint that keeps the consumption poor in poverty is not so much time poverty but lack of employment opportunities. The policy implication is that job creation even at prevailing wages may reduce poverty substantially. Unlike many other studies on time use in sub-Saharan Africa, the data reveals that time poverty is higher among men than women. While omission of time use for domestic chores and care-giving could be responsible for the unexpected findings, the estimated mean working hours are comparable to that estimated for similar African countries.

File: Ndirangu 2009b - Seasonal time poverty in Kenya.pdf