International Workshop on Time Use Survey Data Analysis
An international workshop on time use survey data analysis was recently hosted by Professor Imraan Valodia of the School of Built Environment, and Development Studies (BEDS).
The workshop was held in association with the International Association for Time Use Research (IATUR) and the International Association for Feminist Economics (IAFFE).
‘Economists and other social scientists in developed and developing countries have promoted the collection and analysis of time use data, which provide a more comprehensive understanding of the economy, revealing the significance of unpaid work - including care work - in economic life,’ said Valodia.
Valodia pointed out that time use studies were of particular relevance to developing and transition countries because so much productive activity occurred outside the market economy, much of it through the contribution of women’s unpaid labour.
Following the Beijing Platform for Action, the United Nations has urged governments to conduct regular time use surveys as a way of showing the extent of the unpaid work performed by women.
‘Despite significant progress on data collection in developing and transition countries such as India, South Africa, China, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Nepal, Bolivia, Armenia, Tunisia and Azerbaijan, and some recent publications on the subject, time use data has not been sufficiently analysed by researchers and economists in developing and transition economies.
‘This is a serious oversight, since time use data are a key tool for understanding the effects of public policies on, for example, women’s labour force participation, unpaid work, and well being,’ said Valodia.
The three-day Durban workshop is the fourth of its kind, following earlier workshops held in China, India and Brazil. The workshops looked at presentations from highly experienced time use researchers: laboratory sessions that provided hands-on experience in using developing country time use data; and small-group sessions at which participants had the chance to discuss their own time use research ideas with others who have similar interests.
During the Workshop, participants became familiar with the sampling design, data characteristics and were made aware of innovative, empirical techniques to help them address relevant policy concerns and were given suggestions on how to make their research connect to policy debates as well as reach a broader readership.
- Melissa Mungroo