Original Research

Investigating the subjective well-being of the informally employed: A case study of day labourers in Windhoek and Pretoria

Anthonie M. van Wyk, Phillip F. Blaauw, Anmar Pretorius, Rinie Schenck, Rachel Freeman
Acta Commercii | Vol 20, No 1 | a825 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v20i1.825 | © 2020 Anthonie M. van Wyk, Phillip F. Blaauw, Anmar Pretorius, Rinie Schenck, Rachel Freeman | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 August 2019 | Published: 11 June 2020

About the author(s)

Anthonie M. van Wyk, School of Economic Sciences, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Phillip F. Blaauw, School of Economic Sciences, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Anmar Pretorius, School of Economic Sciences, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Rinie Schenck, DSI/NRF/CSIR Chair in Waste and Society, Department of Social Work, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa
Rachel Freeman, Department of Social Work, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia


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Abstract

Orientation: Day labouring is becoming more frequent in developing countries. Long spells of unemployment and the uncertainty of informal wage employment impact negatively on the subjective well-being (SWB) of day labourers.

Research purpose: The aim of the article was to investigate the level and possible determinants of the SWB of day labourers in Pretoria and Windhoek.

Motivation for the study: Up to now, only one study has been carried out in South Africa on the SWB of day labourers and none in Namibia. This study aimed to start filling this gap in the literature. The choice of the two cities was based on their status as the capital cities of two countries that are both experiencing increasing numbers of day labourers.

Research design, approach and method: A mixed-method research design and purposeful sampling were used to obtain representative samples. Data were sourced from comparable surveys amongst day labourers in the two cities between 2015 and 2017. Questionnaires with quantitative and qualitative sections were completed during structured interviews with 290 and 80 day labourers in Pretoria and Windhoek respectively. The ordinary least squares model and ordered-probit analysis were employed to analyse the data.

Main findings: In Pretoria, the number of dependents, the living conditions and whether they had a full-time job before were all significant in explaining the SWB of the day labourers. In Windhoek, education levels, total days without food, staying with their families and being a foreigner were also significant.

Practical/managerial implications: The needs of the informally employed must be addressed in the integrated development plans of municipalities and integrated with day labour worker centres.

Contribution/value-add: This is the first study to analyse SWB amongst day labourers in Namibia and lays the foundation for future expanded studies.


Keywords

informal economy; day labourers; subjective well-being; informal employment; temporary employment; well-being

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