Policy Focus: Networks, middlemen and other (urban) labour market mysteries
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the roles of social networks and intermediares in recruitment and as instruments to control the workforce in lower end urban labour markets in developing countries. The existing literature favours explanations where networks and middlemen are vehicles to disburse information about vacant jobs or screening mechanisms that improve worker-job matches. Intermediaries may also enable employers to evade labour regulations. This paper highlights instead their roles as incentive providers or mechanisms that alleviate behavioural risks in work relations. A novel aspect of this approach is that behavioural risks on both sides of the work relation are considered. Design/methodology/approach – After reviewing the literature, a simple agency model is introduced to suggest new ways to identify whether networks and middlemen alleviate incentive problems in labour relations. Findings – Studies of disparities in labour market access and outcomes are usually anchored in ideas of discrimination. A key insight is that the access to and performance of urban labour markets depend critically on the specific “services” networks and intermediaries extend to workers and employers. This adds an important complication to the evaluation of opportunities for income diversification through rural-urban migration. Under some circumstances, both “institutions” may give rise to strong and persistent exclusion that is likely to vary systematically across sectors of the urban economy. In other circumstances, access restrictions can be remedied through simple policy interventions. Originality/value – This paper introduces a new and important dimension to the study of urban labour markets as level playing fields.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Volume (Year): 3 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 ( April)
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.emeraldinsight.com|
|Order Information:|| Postal: Emerald Group Publishing, Howard House, Wagon Lane, Bingley, BD16 1WA, UK|
Web: http://www.emeraldinsight.com/igdr.htm Email:
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eme:igdrpp:v:3:y:2010:i:1:p:62-80. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Virginia Chapman)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.