Income Poverty and Intra-Household Allocation of Paid and Unpaid Work Time: An Analysis on Rural/Urban Distinction in Turkey

Please cite the paper as:
Burça Kızılırmak and Emel Memiş, (2022), Income Poverty and Intra-Household Allocation of Paid and Unpaid Work Time: An Analysis on Rural/Urban Distinction in Turkey, World Economics Association (WEA) Conferences, No. 1 2022, Feminist Economics, Contributions and Challenges


This study explores the determinants of intra-household allocation of work time focusing on the impact of income poverty in Turkey. According to the official poverty statistics by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK), 19 percent of the population in Turkey are living under the poverty line. This ratio goes up to 32 percent in the rural areas. The data we use comes from the first nationally representative and the single time use survey data collected by the urban/rural distinction in Turkey.

Contrary to the assumption of equal division of resources within the households in conventional approach to poverty, many studies on poverty and resource allocation among household members point to the inequalities in access to resources as well as the outcomes (Sen, 1984; Harriss, 1990; Haddad and Kanbur, 1990). Added onto these, the discussions on resource allocation among household members do not consider time as a significant resource. These studies, while focusing on the allocation of income resources exclude the inequalities in time use patterns. However, “time” is one of the most important assets and inequalities in time-use within a household might provide important insights on the impacts of poverty, helping to better understand poverty and its dynamics. Therefore, while examining the effects of poverty on individual time use patterns, this study also aims to contribute to the literature on poverty and resource distribution among households.

The empirical analysis makes use of simultaneous equation estimation of unpaid work of married men and women at working age. Assuming that husband’s unpaid work time affects their wives time for unpaid work, we estimate a recursive system. The right-hand side variable we focus on is the poverty status of the family. We also control for individual and other household characteristics.

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  • Nishat Anjum says:

    Hi Burça and Emel
    Many thanks for putting out this paper! Since I am also working on something similar, I really enjoyed it. Your use of instrahousehold time allocation certainly enriches the analysis, restricting the sample to a husband-wife pair. Just commenting my thoughts/doubts in the following sentences!

    Your estimation results from table 2 seems to suggest that the coefficient on unpaid work of husband is not significant for the rural areas. What could be the possible reasons behind this rural-urban dichotomy? Could this be because the norms governing time allocation in unpaid work is more equitable in rural areas?
    It is also interesting to note that years of education has a negative significant impact on rural women’s intrahousehold unpaid work. This is quite interesting because one understands that the general education level and paid work opportunities for women in rural areas would be lesser compared with urban areas. Maybe it would be interesting to see what the coefficient of the interaction term for paid work and years of education would look like for rural areas to see if more educated women are spending time in paid work.

    I was also wondering about the metric used to characterize a household as a poor household in your analysis…

    Thanks and good luck with the paper! 🙂