There is a striking scarcity of work conducted on rural labour markets in the developing world, particularly in Africa. This book aims to fill this gap by bringing together a group of contributors who boast substantial field experience researching rural wage employment in various developing countries. It provides critical perspectives on mainstream approaches to rural/agrarian development, and analysis of agrarian change and rural transformations from a long-term perspective.
This book challenges the notion that rural areas in low- and middle-income countries are dominated by self-employment. It purports that this conventional view is largely due to the application of conceptual frameworks and statistical conventions that are ill-equipped to capture labour market participation. The contributions in this book offer a variety of methodological lessons for the study of rural labour markets, focusing in particular on the use of mixed methods in micro-level field research, and more emphasis on capturing occupation multiplicity.
The emphasis on context, history, and specific configurations of power relations affecting rural labour market outcomes are key and reoccurring features of this book. This analysis will help readers think about policy options to improve the quantity and quality of rural wage employment, their impact on the poorest rural people, and their political feasibility in each context.