Relative Effects of Income and Consumption Poverty on Time Poverty in Ghana


One strand of the literature suggests that higher income individuals are less susceptible to time poverty because they can afford to hire others to assist them with household duties, while another strand postulates a potential trade-off between income poverty and time poverty. This study examined the relationship between time poverty and income/consumption poverty among households in Ghana, using data from three Ghana Living Standard Surveys. The descriptive analysis showed that while time poverty has declined since the 1998/1999 survey period, it is still more prevalent among women, urban residents, those with low levels of education and the non-poor. The regression estimates confirm the trade-off hypothesis, but the subsample analysis across gender and periods of the survey reveals some element of the counter-argument to the trade-off hypothesis among females. The Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations should collaborate with other allied bodies such as the Ghana Employers Association and trade unions to design labour market policies that will create flexible work conditions for especially time-poor women. Such policies should prioritize early childhood education in public schools, promote the provision of onsite day care services by employers, and the incentive to use public transport to ease time-consuming car travel in congested cities.

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Fig. 1

Source: Prepared by the authors using Ghana Living Standard Survey (GLSS) datasets

Fig. 2

Source: Prepared by the authors using Ghana Living Standard Survey (GLSS) datasets

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Source: Prepared by the authors using Ghana Living Standard Survey (GLSS) datasets

Fig. 4

Source: Prepared by the authors using Ghana Living Standard Survey (GLSS) datasets

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Source: Prepared by the authors using Ghana Living Standard Survey (GLSS) datasets

Fig. 6

Source: Prepared by the authors using Ghana Living Standard Survey (GLSS) datasets

Fig. 7

Source: Prepared by the authors using Ghana Living Standard Survey (GLSS) datasets


  1. 1.

    The concept of feminisation of poverty means one or a combination of the following three hypotheses: (1) there is a higher incidence of poverty among women than among men; (2) women’s poverty is more severe than men’s; and (3) over time, the incidence of poverty among women is increasing compared to men (Cagatay 1998).

  2. 2.

    See the works of Mothersbaugh et al. (1993) and Hamermesh and Lee (2007) for discussions on how the subjective approach has been applied to assess the effect of perceived time pressure on adherence to recommended dietary practices (RDPs), and how time stress varies by gender.

  3. 3.

    Note that in the regression analysis, education was categorised into none, basic education and secondary plus. This was because the test of the statistical difference in the extent of the effect of secondary and other, higher levels of education was not significant. It was therefore statistically intuitive to combine the two categories into a single category.

  4. 4.

    A detailed explanation of and distinction between organic solidarity and mechanical solidarity can be found in the study by Beck (2015).

  5. 5.

    The three dummy variables, which took on the value of 1 if a survey was conducted in a particular year and 0 if otherwise, were included in the analysis. The survey years were 1998/1999 (GLSS4), 2005/2006 (GLSS5) and 2012/2013 (GLSS6). To avoid a potential dummy variable trap, the year 1998/1999 was kept as a reference category.


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Correspondence to Emmanuel Orkoh.

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Appendix: Descriptive Statistics of Inequality in Time Poverty

Appendix: Descriptive Statistics of Inequality in Time Poverty

See Figs. 8, 9, 10, 11 and Tables 6, 7.

Fig. 8

Source: Prepared by the authors using Ghana Living Standard Survey (GLSS) datasets

Poverty gap and severity of time poverty across years of survey.

Fig. 9

Source: Prepared by the authors using Ghana Living Standard Survey (GLSS) datasets

Gap and severity of time poverty by gender and geographical location.

Fig. 10

Source: Prepared by the authors using Ghana Living Standard Survey (GLSS) datasets

Gap and severity of time poverty across level of education.

Fig. 11

Source: Prepared by the authors using Ghana Living Standard Survey (GLSS) datasets

Gap and severity of time poverty by ethnic affiliation of respondent.

Table 6 Pooled sample estimates of time poverty by geographical location.
Table 7 Estimates of time poverty by survey year, poverty indicator and geographical location.

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Orkoh, E., Blaauw, P.F. & Claassen, C. Relative Effects of Income and Consumption Poverty on Time Poverty in Ghana. Soc Indic Res 147, 465–499 (2020) doi:10.1007/s11205-019-02158-0

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  • Income poverty
  • Consumption poverty
  • Time poverty
  • Recursive bivariate regression