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Public infrastructure investment and non-market work in India: Selective evidence from time use data

Lekha cHAKRABORTY

Working Papers from National Institute of Public Finance and Policy

Abstract: Theory of allocation of time revealed that historically market-time has never consistently been greater than the non-market time and herefore the allocation and efficiency of latter may be equally important, if not more, to economic growth than that of former. The time budget data challenged the existing theories on allocation of time where nonmarket time aggregates leisure and work at home. The time budget findings revealed that unpaid work at home and leisure are not affected in the same way by changes in socio-economic variables. Tricotomising the allocation of time into work in market, unpaid work at home and leisure has important policy implications; in integrating the care economy into economic modeling and in turn in macropolicy making. This is particularly important in the context of developing countries, where public infrastructure deficit induces locking of time in unpaid work spurting a trade off with the time otherwise spent in the market economy activities or eroding leisure. Against this backdrop,this paper examined the link between public infrastructure investment and time allocation across gender in the context of selected states in India. The direction of regression coefficients suggests that public infrastructure investment affects market work, non-market work and leisure time in different ways with evident gender differentials. The time allocation in SNA activity of women is found significant and inversely related to the public infrastructure related to water supply. But there is no evidence that the release of time locked up in unpaid SNA work through better infrastructure can have substitution effect towards market work. This gets reinforced by the significant positive link between infrastructure and time allocation in Non-SNA activity, which manifests forced leisure. This in turn implies that though infrastructure investment lessens the time stress in unpaid SNA activity; complementary employment policies are required along with infrastructure investment to ensure substitution effect of unpaid work with market work, which in turn can have impact on household poverty. In particular,the analysis of time budget statistics enables the identification of the complementary fiscal services required for better gender sensitive human development. The overall onclusion of the paper is that fiscal policies designed to redress income poverty can be partial if it does not take in to account aspects of time poverty.

Keywords: Infrastructure; Investment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 35
Date: 2007-05
Note: Working Paper 47, 2007
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