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Authors

Rijak Grover

Abstract

Sociologists have long argued that spatial mismatch, or costs for workers associated with the distance from home to work, determines the extensive margin of labour supply of urban areas in developed countries (Kain 1968; Wilson, 1987). But what about in rural contexts where labour supply vastly exceeds demand? Using data from fieldwork in Findon, Cote d’Ivoire, this article examines an unexplored aspect of spatial mismatch theory, namely, its application to a rural context in the developing world. Sociological research has suggested the best way to correct spatial mismatch is by either bringing people to jobs or jobs to people. The cashew processing firms of CAFAC have brought jobs to people by locating their factories in secondary towns and cities around Cote d’Ivoire, hiring workers from the surrounding rural areas. An estimated ninety-five percent of these workers are women. Qualitative evidence from interviews provides new insights into how far these women travel to work in an attempt to see if the spatial mismatch has been corrected by CAFAC. Policymakers and private sector actors are urged to take into account the spatial-determinants of work-related arrangements when creating more, and better, agro-processing jobs for women in rural areas.

Note on the Author

Rijak Grover is currently a PhD candidate in Sociology at the University of Cambridge. Her research looks at women’s employment along agricultural value chains in Benin, West Africa. Previously, she worked for 5 years at the World Bank and the U.N. advising governments on how to create more – and better jobs – for vulnerable workers such as women and youth.

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