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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Industrial Subcontracting and Home-Work in South Africa: Policy Issues from the International Perspective
Author:Rogerson, Christian M.ISNI
Periodical:Africa Insight
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:working conditions
industrial organization
small enterprises
industrial policy
Development and Technology
Economics and Trade
Labor and Employment
Abstract:South African policymakers can draw important lessons from the international experience with homework and industrial subcontracting in terms of future strategic initiatives regarding small enterprise development. Over the past two decades, various economic factors combined to redefine conditions for industrial organization and production. One manifestation of this global trend in industrial restructuring has been an expansion in subcontracting and of homework activities in many countries, most notably in the developing world, but also in many parts of Western Europe. First, this paper presents a general framework for interrogating the relationships of industrial subcontracting, homework and industrial restructuring. Two principal forms of subcontracting are distinguished, namely capacity subcontracting and specialization subcontracting, both with differential implications for employment. Next, the experience of Asia and Latin America with subcontracting and homework are examined. A striking trend is for small firms at the bottom of the subcontracting chain to be highly feminized in their workforce composition. The experience of the 'semi-peripheral' economy of Spain with subcontracting is also examined. The author concludes that, from a long-term developmental perspective, 'it is difficult to be optimistic about the possibilities offered by this type of paid work'. Ref.