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Mueller, Bernd (2011) Working for Development? A Study of the Political Economy of Rural Labour Markets in Tanzania. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The thesis aims to expand economists’ general understanding of rural development by interpreting the formation, expansion and functioning of rural labour markets as being situated at the centre of development. For this, we start by setting up an analytical framework that is rooted in classical political economy and that highlights the importance of socio-economic relations of power and property, processes of socio-economic differentiation, as well as the centrality of gender and intra-household relations as critical parts and complements in any holistic analysis. Through this we explore the deep theoretical links between the labour market and any process of rural development. The principal part of the thesis then goes on to applying this analytical framework using empirical survey data collected in the West Usambara Mountains region in North Tanzania through primary fieldwork in 2008 exploring wider processes of labour market participation and capital accumulation. A major aspect of this research is to compare our results with the influential study by Sender and Smith (1990) conducted in the same region in 1986. Some important results of our study are a relatively clear trend towards production being predominantly governed by wage labour relations, a general increase of economic pressure on people’s land holdings and a resulting process of increased differentiation and separation from the means of subsistence. We furthermore observed – in contrast to Sender and Smith’s conclusions – a tangible reduction of men’s capacity to coercively appropriate women’s labour power within the household, which they diagnosed to be a major impediment towards the greater process of development.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: Legacy Departments > Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > Department of Economics
Supervisors Name: Jane Harrigan and Deborah Johnston
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 05 Mar 2012 12:39

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