Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Social and Economic Stratification

Homelessness, Property Rights, and Institutional Logics

We explore whether there is evidence of property rights amongst the homeless, and if so, how these rights are governed. We show that although the homeless are able to derive some value from assets, and can exclude other members of their community, these rights are precarious and dependent upon state agents not seizing the “property” and overriding the community’s rules of the game. The transferring of assets are especially curtailed.

A Portrait of Informal Sector Credit and Interest Rates in Malawi: Interpolated Monthly Time Series

Although informal finance forms a large part of their financial sector, nearly all low income countries exclude informal transactions in official monetary data. Usually, informal finance data are nonexistent and occasionally, they are available only from surveys that often occur at irregular intervals and mostly with incomparable data. Using two survey datasets, indigenous knowledge, and elements of Friedman’s data interpolation technique, this study constructs monthly time series of informal credit and interest rates for Malawi.

The Good African Society Index

This paper constructs a Good Society Index for 45 African countries, termed the Good African Society Index (GASI). The GASI consists of nine main indexes: (i) economic sustainability, (ii) democracy and freedom, (iii) child well-being, (iv) environment and infrastructure, (v) safety and security, (vi) health and health systems, (vii) integrity and justice, (viii) education, and (xi) social sustainability and social cohesion. Each component is split into four sub-components for a total of 36 indicators. Tunisia ranks highest on the GASI, followed by Cape Verde and Botswana.

Family Functioning and Life Satisfaction and Happiness in South African Household

Families form an integral part of society and in fostering individual well-being. Despite the acknowledged importance of family, the association between family functioning and individual well-being outcomes have remained unexplored in the current body of knowledge. This paper explores the association between family functioning and reported levels of life satisfaction and happiness in South Africa. The paper employs the Family Attachment and Changeability Index (FACI8) to measure family functioning, using data from the 2011 South African Social Attitudes Survey (SASAS 2011).

Life satisfaction and education in South Africa: Investigating the role of attainment and the likelihood of education as a positional good

This paper explores various dynamics in the relationship between life satisfaction and education in South Africa using the 2008 National Income Dynamics Survey. The results indicate a strong positive association between educational attainment and individual satisfaction with life, which is true in the overall sample and for men and women. This positive relationship also holds for Black and Coloured individuals, but is insignificant in the Asian and White samples.

A reconsideration of what and who is middle class in South Africa

In this paper, we revisit 'what and who' is middle class in South Africa using data collected in the 2008 National Income Dynamics Study. First we consider how to identify the middle class based on two broad definitions adopted in the international literature: a middle class defined by the middle share of the national income distribution; and a middle class defined by an absolute level of affluence and lifestyle.

Social Networks and Ethnic Niches: An Econometric Analysis of the Manufacturing Sector in South Africa

This paper analyses the link between social networks and ethnic occupational niches in the manufacturing sector in South Africa. To this end, it employs the methodology of Bertrand et al. (2000) to minimise the omitted variable bias induced by standard approaches investigating network effects and adopts Models (1993) concentration index to define an ethnic niche. The results indicate that 25 percent of our sample is employed in ethnic niches in the manufacturing sector but that niche employment varies markedly by language group.

Does Human Generate Social and Institutional Capital? Exploring Evidence From Time Series Data in a Middle Income Country

This paper presents an analysis of the interaction of human capital investment and the development of social and political institutions. We find that human capital matters - for growth through its quality dimension; for distributional conflict by raising political aspirations. But human capital does not stand alone either. The level of economic development (output) matters, distributional (instability) conflict as well as the rights dispensation can come to influence human capital investment decisions in their own right.

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