The Effect of Housing on Labour Performance in Estates


The aim of this study was to ascertain, using individual level data of 2001, whether housing improvements have any effect on labour performance. The study used two measures of labour performance: the ratio of number of days of work over 300— a measure of labour outturn; and annual earnings— a measure of both outturn and productivity. The study evaluated the effects of the following six housing variables on labour performance: hygienic latrine; private source of water; non-leaking roof; smokeless kitchen; adequate living space; and adequate natural light in the house.

Key Findings

The results showed that five out of the six housing variables considered improved labour outturn, while three of them improved worker earnings. The study concludes that housing problems that may cause physical (in the case of unhygienic latrines) and psychological (in the case of overcrowded houses and houses with inadequate natural light) health problems have the potential to affect labour performance. Although their effect was only apparent for one of the two labour performance measures considered, other housing problems such as smoking kitchens and leaking roofs also seem to have some effect on labour performance. In addition, the results showed that social and location factors, age, gender, and education also affect labour performance. The study argues that these findings indicate that improving social support systems and physical infrastructure, and making estate work more attractive have the potential to improve labour performance.

Research team

Nisha Arunatialke
Maduwanthi Opatha

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