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Estimating the benefits of linking ties in a deeply divided society: considering the relationship between domestic workers and their employers in South Africa

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  • Ronelle Burger

    ()
    (Departement Ekonomie, Universiteit van Stellenbosch)

  • Marisa Coetzee

    ()
    (Departement Ekonomie, Universiteit van Stellenbosch)

  • Carina van der Watt

    ()
    (Departement Ekonomie, Universiteit van Stellenbosch)

Abstract

In South Africa social exclusion remains a problem due to the multiple and overlapping divisions in post-apartheid society and the lack of linking ties bridging the worlds of those who have plenty and those without. To quantify the potential benefit of such linking ties for socio-economic mobility, we examine the relationship between domestic workers and their employers – a case where we find frequent, proximate and intimate contact between individuals from these two different worlds. We construct a well matched comparison group for domestic workers via propensity score matching using a pooled version of seven General Household Surveys. The households of domestic workers appear to have lower unemployment duration and better quality jobs, a higher likelihood of owning assets and a lower prevalence of child and adult hunger. These differences provide evidence that the linking ties of domestic workers with their more affluent employers increase well-being in a way that is consistent with social network theory.

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File URL: http://www.ekon.sun.ac.za/wpapers/2013/wp182013/wp-18-2013.pdf
File Function: First version, 2013
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 18/2013.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:sza:wpaper:wpapers194

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Keywords: Social capital; social networks; domestic workers; inequality; South Africa;

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  1. Tom Hertz, 2005. "The Effect of Minimum Wages on the Employment and Earnings of South Africa’s Domestic Service Workers," Working Papers 05099, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
  2. Dinkelman, Taryn & Ranchhod, Vimal, 2012. "Evidence on the impact of minimum wage laws in an informal sector: Domestic workers in South Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(1), pages 27-45.
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  8. Michelle Adato & Michael Carter & Julian May, 2006. "Exploring poverty traps and social exclusion in South Africa using qualitative and quantitative data," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(2), pages 226-247.
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  12. Woolcock, Michael & Narayan, Deepa, 2000. "Social Capital: Implications for Development Theory, Research, and Policy," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 15(2), pages 225-49, August.
  13. Sascha O. Becker & Andrea Ichino, 2002. "Estimation of average treatment effects based on propensity scores," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 2(4), pages 358-377, November.
  14. Murray Leibbrandt & Arden Finn & Ingrid Woolard, 2012. "Describing and decomposing post-apartheid income inequality in South Africa," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(1), pages 19-34, March.
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