1st Edition

Rural Wage Employment in Developing Countries Theory, Evidence, and Policy

Edited By Carlos Oya, Nicola Pontara Copyright 2015
    386 Pages
    by Routledge

    386 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    There is a striking scarcity of work conducted on rural labour markets in the developing world, particularly in Africa. This book aims to fill this gap by bringing together a group of contributors who boast substantial field experience researching rural wage employment in various developing countries. It provides critical perspectives on mainstream approaches to rural/agrarian development, and analysis of agrarian change and rural transformations from a long-term perspective.

    This book challenges the notion that rural areas in low- and middle-income countries are dominated by self-employment. It purports that this conventional view is largely due to the application of conceptual frameworks and statistical conventions that are ill-equipped to capture labour market participation. The contributions in this book offer a variety of methodological lessons for the study of rural labour markets, focusing in particular on the use of mixed methods in micro-level field research, and more emphasis on capturing occupation multiplicity.

    The emphasis on context, history, and specific configurations of power relations affecting rural labour market outcomes are key and reoccurring features of this book. This analysis will help readers think about policy options to improve the quantity and quality of rural wage employment, their impact on the poorest rural people, and their political feasibility in each context.

    1. Rural Wage Employment in Developing Countries 2. Rural Labour Markets and Agricultural Wage Employment in Semi-arid Africa 3. Lifting the Blinkers 4. Caught in the Grip of the Market 5. Disguised employment? Labour market surveys, migration and rural employment in Southern Africa 6. Tanzania’s rural labour markets 7. The Policy Neglect of Rural Wage Employment 8. Labour Conditions in Rural India 9. Rural Households’ Social Reproduction in China’s Transition to Capitalism 10. Structuring Rural Labour Markets 11. Employment Instability and the Restructuring of Rural and Rural-Urban Labour Markets in Two Latin American Export Industries 12. The Ties Made in the Harvest 13. Improving the Functioning of Rural Labour Markets and Working Conditions


    Carlos Oya is Reader in Political Economy of Development, Department of Development Studies, SOAS, University of London, UK.

    Nicola Pontara is Head of South Sudan World Bank Office, South Sudan.