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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

Author

Listed:
  • 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Ronelle Burger & Marisa Coetzee & Carina van der Watt, 2013. "Estimating the benefits of linking ties in a deeply divided society: considering the relationship between domestic workers and their employers in South Africa," Working Papers 18/2013, Stellenbosch University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:sza:wpaper:wpapers194
    as

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    File URL: https://www.ekon.sun.ac.za/wpapers/2013/wp182013/wp-18-2013.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2013
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. The truth about domestic workers in South Africa
      by Johan Fourie in Johan Fourie's Blog on 2014-08-01 13:03:09

    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    JEL classification:

    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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