The Journal of Modern African Studies

Research Article

Lifting the blinkers: a new view of power, diversity and poverty in Mozambican rural labour markets

Christopher Cramera1 c1, Carlos Oyaa1 c2 and John Sendera1 c3

a1 School of Oriental and African Studies, Russell Square, London, WC1H 0XG, United Kingdom


This paper presents some results from the largest rural labour market survey yet conducted in Mozambique. Evidence from three provinces shows that labour markets have a significant impact on the lives of a large number of poor people, and that employers exercise considerable discretion in setting wages and conditions of casual, seasonal and permanent wage employment. The evidence presented comes from a combination of a quantitative survey based on purposive sampling with other techniques, including interviews with large farmers. The findings contrast with ideas that rural labour markets are of limited relevance to poverty reduction policy formulation in Africa, and the paper concludes with methodological, analytical and policy recommendations.