Why rural wage labour matters

BEAM webinar: Beyond farmers and micro-entrepreneurs: Why rural wage labour matters, 14 May 2015.
Speaker: Bernd Mueller, FAO.
Ediscussion on wage labour, May-June 2015

USAID's Leveraging Economic Opportunities (LEO) project recently released an extensive evidence review on the linkages between wage labour and pathways out of poverty, with a particular focus on rural agricultural economies in sub-Saharan Africa.

In this webinar, lead author Bernd Mueller, a labour economist with FAO's Decent Rural Employment team and consultant with LEO, presented findings from the research. Webinar presentation .

Key topics included:

  • What is 'wage labour,' and why does that distinction make a difference to incentive structures and our theories of change for impact?
  • Why is wage labour so commonly overlooked and rarely shows up in official data? What are the implications for our 'evidence-based design?'
  • How important is wage work to rural poor households and their efforts to combat poverty? Which types of jobs and labour market characteristics can aid escapes from poverty?
  • What are the programming implications of a more labour-inclusive market systems development approach?

Ediscussion on wage labour

In May 2015, BEAM Exchange and USAID’s Leveraging Economic Opportunities (LEO) project launched an ediscussion on the links between wage work, poverty, and market development. The discussion involved over 200 participants from 34 countries, drawing from market development practitioners, labour economists and researchers, technical representatives at donor agencies, and others.

Read the summary report, a synthesis of the main discussion points and featured reading. 

Week 1 summary: focus on the core issues and practical implications of rural poverty and wage labour.
Week 2 summary: focus on structural transformation.
Week 3 summary: focus on results measurement.

Other resources

Wage labor, agriculture-based economies, and pathways out of poverty: Taking stock of the evidence, Bernd Mueller and Man-Kwun Chan, USAID, 2015

Drawing the links between wage work and poverty reduction: Highlights from a recent evidence review, Anna Garloch, 2015

Where are all the rural wage workers? On labour-blindness and its causes, Bernd Mueller, 2015

Watch the video