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

Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP18/2013
 
Publication date: 2013
 
Author(s):
[protected email address] (Departement Ekonomie, Universiteit van Stellenbosch)
[protected email address] (Departement Ekonomie, Universiteit van Stellenbosch)
[protected email address] (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.

 
JEL Classification:

Z13, Z10, D63

Keywords:

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

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14 October 2019
While incoming data on the global economy remains downbeat, the mood was lifted last week after progress was made on US-China trade talks and Brexit negotiations. On the domestic data front, mining and manufacturing data for August added to growing evidence that real GDP growth likely slowed significantly in 2019Q3 after the nice rebound recorded in...

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