IZA DP No. 10376: Is the Allocation of Time Gender Sensitive to Food Price Changes? An Investigation of Hours of Work in Uganda
Dramatic spikes in food prices, like those observed over the last years, represent a real threat to food security in developing countries with severe consequences for many aspects of human life. Price instability can also affect the intra-household allocation of time, thus changing the labour supply of women, who traditionally play the role of 'shock absorbers'. This paper explores the nature of time poverty by examining how changes in the prices of the two major staples consumed, matooke and cassava, have affected the paid and unpaid labour time allocation in Ugandan households. We exploit the panel nature of the Uganda National Household Survey by adopting a Tobit-hybrid model. Our results show that gender differentials in the intra-household allocation of labour actually occur in correspondence with changes in food prices. We find that, overall, women work significantly more, since the additional hours women work in the labour market are not counterbalanced by a relevant reduction in their other labour activities. For men, we do not find any significant effect of price changes on hours of work.