Sinead Keogh

B.A., M.Econ.Sc.

PhD student NUI Galway


Sinéad's PhD research is primarily an analysis of the typical patterns of time use of farm household members in the West of Ireland. A core aspect of her thesis is an analysis of the determinants of participation in, and the number of hours dedicated to leisure, civic engagement and voluntary activities, as well as factors contributing to the well-being of farm household members. The data which forms the basis of her thesis is from the Time Use of Farm Household Members in the West of Ireland 2011/12 Survey, a single purpose survey designed specifically for the collection of data relating to non-market off-farm activities. Sinéad also lectures on two innovative programmes associated with NUI Galway; the Diploma in Foundation Studies (Business) course and the Access course for mature students, an outreach programme delivered in Ballinasloe.

An empirical analysis of the time allocation of farm household members in the West of Ireland—Non-Market Off-Farm Activities

Community development and social support have evolved uniquely in rural Ireland. In response to poverty and other historical developments, tight groupings of families, friends and neighbours often formed strong informal social support systems. Such behaviour is consistent with the ‘meítheal’ tradition, the idea of spirit of community or connectedness within groups of neighbours, an ethos that is somewhat preserved and safeguarded among farming communities throughout the West of Ireland. As farm households in Ireland continue to adjust to new farm and trade policies, new technologies and a challenging economic climate, a better understanding of the economics of time allocation seems to hold important implications for these unique support systems and consequently the well-being of farm people.

Within this context, the primary objective of this thesis is to provide a detailed understanding of how farm household members in the West of Ireland allocate an important household resource: their time. To this end, a single purpose time use diary survey combined with individual and household questionnaires that collect information on respondents’ background characteristics was developed and administered.

This thesis also sets out to investigate the factors that influence the participation in, and the number of hours dedicated to civic engagement and voluntary activities among farm household members. Furthermore, it investigates the determinants of daily participation and time use in various leisure activities among farm household members in the West of Ireland and investigates the diversity of participation in various types of leisure activities, namely: active leisure, passive leisure and social entertainment. Understanding time allocation patterns for leisure activities has broad ramifications for societal well-being. Finally, this study attempts to address a gap in the research literature by examining the influence of socio-demographic factors, household characteristics and a variety of indicators of social capital on self-rated health and quality of life of farm household members in the West of Ireland.

This thesis delivers contributions to a number of areas. First, this research provides a baseline study, collecting, for the first time, detailed micro level time use data on farm household members in the West of Ireland and in doing so establishes a frame of reference for subsequent research in this field. Second, it highlights time use patterns that should enable more informed policy decisions relating to farm households. Finally, this thesis makes a number of significant contributions to identified gaps in the currently available literature on time use.

Keywords time use, microeconomics, consumer choice theory, survey methodologies, volunteering, leisure, well-being


PhD research funding

  • HEA PRTLI PhD fellowship (cycle 4)

Head of Economics

Prof Alan Ahearne

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