Elisa Macchi

Thematic seminars
Development and political economy seminar

Elisa Macchi

Brown University
Work Over Just Cash: Informal Redistribution Among Employers and Workers in Kampala, Uganda
Joint with
Jeremia Stalder

MEGA Salle Carine Nourry

MEGA - Salle Carine Nourry

Maison de l'économie et de la gestion d'Aix
424 chemin du viaduc
13080 Aix-en-Provence

Friday, December 15 2023| 11:00am to 12:15pm

Timothée Demont: timothee.demont[at]univ-amu.fr
Habiba Djebbari: habiba.djebbari[at]univ-amu.fr


This paper examines informal redistribution in the form of work in small and medium enterprises in Kampala, Uganda and its drivers. Using a field experi-ment, we show that employers and workers systematically choose giving/receiving work over cash transfers. Decisions imply a large willingness to pay for work on both sides of the labor market. Work redistribution choices are unaffected by the economic and training value of the task, and employers pay for zero marginal product work. Removing stakes in the game also does not affect decisions, ruling out signaling and relational personal benefits as drivers. Employers and workers motivate work redistribution mostly with fairness considerations and, secondly, with the psychosocial value of work for workers. Results appear externally valid, as giving via work predicts increased hiring in the firm, but it does not lead to higher revenues, sales, or profits, confirming that work redistribution is unlikely to be productive.