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Enabled to Work: The Impact of Government Housing on Slum Dwellers in South Africa

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  • Simon Franklin

Abstract

This paper looks at the link between housing conditions and household income and labour market participation in South Africa. I use four waves of panel data from 2002-2009 on households that were originally living in informal dwellings. I find that those households that received free government housing later experienced large increases in their incomes. This effect is driven by increased employment rates among female members of these households, rather than other sources of income. I take advantage of a natural experiment created by a policy of allocating housing to households that lived in close proximity to new housing developments. Using rich spatial data on the roll out of government housing projects, I generate geographic instruments to predict selection into receiving housing. I then use housing projects that were planned and approved but never actually built to allay concerns about non-random placement of housing projects. The fixed effects results are robust to the use of these instruments and placebo tests. I present suggestive evidence that formal housing alleviates the demands of work at home for women, which leads to increases in labour supply to wage paying jobs.

Suggested Citation

  • Simon Franklin, 2016. "Enabled to Work: The Impact of Government Housing on Slum Dwellers in South Africa," SERC Discussion Papers 0197, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:sercdp:0197
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    Cited by:

    1. Guy Michaels & Dzhamilya Nigmatulina & Ferdinand Rauch & Tanner Regan & Neeraj Baruah & Amanda Dahlstrand, 2021. "Planning Ahead for Better Neighborhoods: Long-Run Evidence from Tanzania," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 129(7), pages 2112-2156.
    2. Paul Collier & Anthony J. Venables, 2013. "Housing and Urbanization in Africa: unleashing a formal market process," CSAE Working Paper Series 2013-01, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    3. Adriana Camacho-González & Jorge Enrique Caputo-Leyva & Fabio Sánchez-Torres, 2022. ""Un nuevo comienzo": El impacto del Programa Vivienda Gratuita sobre la calidad de vida de los hogares beneficiarios," Documentos CEDE 20077, Universidad de los Andes, Facultad de Economía, CEDE.
    4. Adriana Camacho-González & Jorge Enrique Caputo-Leyva & Fabio Sánchez-Torres, 2022. "A new beginning: The effect of the free housing program on the quality of life of beneficiary households," Documentos CEDE 20303, Universidad de los Andes, Facultad de Economía, CEDE.
    5. Manea, Roxana Elena & Piraino, Patrizio & Viarengo, Martina, 2023. "Crime, inequality and subsidized housing: Evidence from South Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 168(C).
    6. Kerianne Lawson, 2023. "Using property rights to fight crime: the Khaya Lam project," Journal of Economics and Finance, Springer;Academy of Economics and Finance, vol. 47(2), pages 269-302, June.
    7. Zhang, Li & Xie, Lunyu & Zheng, Xinye, 2023. "Across a few prohibitive miles: The impact of the Anti-Poverty Relocation Program in China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 160(C).
    8. Kumar, Tanu, 2021. "The housing quality, income, and human capital effects of subsidized homes in urban India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 153(C).
    9. Leonard Le Roux & Johanna Choumert-Nkolo, 2023. "Internal Migration and Energy Poverty," Working Papers 2023.01, FAERE - French Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.
    10. Posada, H. M. & García, A. F. & Londoño, D, 2022. "The external effects of public housing developments on informal housing: The case of Medellín, Colombia," Documentos de Trabajo 20416, Universidad del Rosario.
    11. Omer Ozgen, 2020. "Impact of Slum Redevelopment Projects on Labour Market Outcomes: Evidence from Addis Ababa," CSAE Working Paper Series 2020-23, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    12. Simon Franklin, 2015. "Location, search costs and youth unemployment: A randomized trial of transport subsidies in Ethiopia," CSAE Working Paper Series 2015-11, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    13. Li Shang & Xiaoling Zhang & Decai Tang & Xiaoxue Ma & Chunfeng Lu, 2023. "The Impact of Housing Support Expenditure on Urban Residents’ Consumption—Evidence from China," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 15(12), pages 1-24, June.
    14. Bradlow, Benjamin H. & Polloni, Stefano & Violette, William, 2023. "Public housing spillovers: Evidence from South Africa," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 134(C).
    15. Zou, Jing & Deng, Xiaojun, 2022. "Housing tenure choice and socio-economic integration of migrants in rising cities of China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 74(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    housing; labour supply; time allocation; home production;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • P14 - Political Economy and Comparative Economic Systems - - Capitalist Economies - - - Property Rights
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation

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