Real Wages and Institutional Change: Women's Welfare in the Javanese Rice Economy

The interaction between real wages and institutional arrangements represents an important equilibrating mechanism that directly affects employment and seasonal incomes for unskilled women in Asia. This article examines recent trends in real wages and employment practices for women in the Javanese rice economy. The evidence indicates that the terms of institutional arrangements, like real wages, have improved with increasing demand for labour off the farm and rising labour productivity in rice production. These improvements have caused the level of women's seasonal incomes from rice production to exceed that which is indicated by the aggregate wage data, and have contributed significantly to the reduction of poverty among women in rural Java.