Gender and Time Dimensions of Informal Workers’ Well-being: Evidence from Thailand
Description Working Paper No. 2007-11. 47 pages. The paper theoretically and empirically explores the relationship between work intensity and well-being. It first develops a well-being composite index that takes into account not only money based income, but also those aspects of individual capabilities and functioning that are not necessarily acquired through market participation such as the person’s educational attainment and work intensity. The study focuses on two categories of informal home-based workers: 1) those who are self-employed and work in their own business and 2) those who are paid by others and work as subcontracted homeworkers. Using time use data collected among these workers, the paper demonstrates how time use patterns can serve as crucial indicators of quality of life. Empirical tests are then conducted to examine the effect of time and work intensity aspects on the well-being of homebased workers, majority of whom have low wage rates and/or work with no labor protection. For women workers, combining both paid market work and unpaid domestic work has become a necessity, creating a higher incidence of work intensity, and hence lower quality of life than among men homebased workers. We also found that the well-being level of self employed workers to be better than subcontracted workers. The well-being index developed in the paper provides a useful indicator for use by policymakers, researchers and advocacy groups in the way that it allows for comparability and for identifying those who need the most assistance. A better understanding of the factors that promote or lower well-being can enable policymakers to target vulnerable individuals or households. It also helps them to design more effective programs and economic and social policies that enhance the well-being of these individuals.
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