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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Budgeting against Uncertainty: Cross-Class and Transethnic Redistribution Mechanisms in Urban Zambia
Author:Hansen, Karen T.
Periodical:African Urban Studies
Geographic term:Zambia
Subjects:income distribution
domestic workers
Economics and Trade
Urbanization and Migration
Abstract:Eking out a living in Lusaka, Zambia, is characterized by active planning and strategic intervention to reduce uncertainty. A sample survey of domestic servants and their employers in 168 households of middle to high income, conducted in Lusaka in 1983 and 1984, indicates that in their daily struggle to get by, servants ask for wage advances as well as assistance in cash and kind from their employers, in addition to participating in a variety of essentially dyadic lending and borrowing arrangements, such as 'chilimba' (partial wage pooling) and 'kaloba' (borrowing at 50 percent interest). These practices create a tenuously balanced reciprocal order of lending, borrowing, and handing out, and its anti-order, negative reciprocity of material redistribution by self-help. They help to alleviate the day-to-day struggle for a living without radically changing the existing gap between rich and poor. Bibliogr., notes.