Time use data facilitate understanding of labor supply, especially for women who often undertake unpaid care and home production. Although assisted diary-based time use surveys are suitable for low-literacy populations, they are costly and rarely used. We create a low-cost, scalable alternative that captures contextually-determined broad time categories; here, allocations across market work, household labor, and leisure. Using fewer categories and larger time intervals takes 33% less time than traditional modules. Field experiments show the module measures average time across the broader categories as well as the traditional approach, particularly for our target female population. The module can also capture multitasking for a specific category of interest. Its shortcomings are short duration activity capture and the need for careful category selection. The module’s brevity and low cost make it a viable method to use in household and labor force surveys, facilitating tracking of work and leisure patterns as economies develop.


Field, Erica, Rohini Pande, Natalia Rigol, Simone Schaner, Elena Stacy, Charity Troyer Moore. 2023. "Measuring time use in rural India: Design and validation of a low-cost survey module." Journal of Development Economics 164: 103105. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jdeveco.2023.103105.