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Household Perceptions of Labour Market Conditions in Malawi and Tanzania

by Brian Dillon, Reuben Mutegi, Peter Brummund, Germano Mwabu, Joshua Merfeld | Thursday, January 21, 2016

In this paper we document and analyse the findings from new qualitative research into individuals’ perceptions of labour market function and their places within labour markets. Our findings are based on focus group discussions and informal interviews conducted in Malawi and Tanzania during the period July-September 2015. We focused our efforts on topics that have proved to be difficult to understand with quantitative survey data: seasonality in labour supply and demand, productivity differences between household and hired labour, supervisory requirements, search activities, wage bargaining. We were especially interested in learning the answers to questions that are fundamental to identification and analysis of quantitative data. For example, from the perspective of rural households, is it more difficult to find work, or to find workers? Does the answer vary within the year? How costly is it to search for workers? To search for jobs? While the findings from this small qualitative study are not generalisable, they are rich in detail and nuance, and serve as a useful complement to the quantitative analysis in our other papers on this topic.

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