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Handa, Sudhanshu (1998). Are Female Headed Households Time Poor?. Social and Economic Studies, 47(4), 1-27.


Female-headed Households (FHHs) in Jamaica are significantly poorer than Male-headed Households (MHHs) using per capita household consumption as a measure of welfare. It is often argued, however, that this measure overstates the welfare of FHHs because it ignores the consumption of leisure, and FHHs are thought to sacrifice leisure in order to raise consumption of good and services. Using the 1993 time use module of the Jamaican Survey of Living Conditions, a broad description of the time allocation patterns of members of male and female headed households is presented. A new measure of welfare is then developed that includes the consumption of leisure, and using this new measure, the relative disparity between male and female headed households remains unchanged, as does the ranking of individual households under alternative measures. When poverty indexes are calculated, slightly more FHHs and less MHHs are classified as poor, but the
poverty gap for each of these groups improves slightly. The main policy conclusion arising from this study is that for Jamaica, the neglect of leisure when measuring consumption does not seem to bias estimates of poverty for households as a whole, and FHHs in particular.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Social and Economic Studies


Handa, Sudhanshu