Degree Name

Master of Commerce (Hons.)


Department of Economics


The literature on rural employment and incomes in Java generally uses either the literary or the econometric approach. This thesis attempts to bridge the gap, by using data from a survey of six villages in West Java in 1982/83 and reveals some interesting features not hitherto brought out.

Differences in location (agro-climatic zone and accessibility) can affect rural life patterns more than modern rice technology or tenurial status. Location also determines whether rural households are "pushed" or "pulled" into non-agriculture.

The area of rice sawah land cultivated is also crucial in rural activity: this alone can explain 40 percent of variations in household total income. Nevertheless, only 60 percent of rice farmers earn enough to live off rice. Whilst agricultural wage labour is a leading source of employment and income, other farming and non-agriculture account for two-thirds of remunerated labour time and almost half of income; these activities deserve more study than formerly. Although the households are rural, twenty percent of income is directly urban-derived.

Although adults average only 17 hours remunerative work per week, few households remain below the poverty line. Of those that do, many are landless, but not all landless are necessarily poor.

Conclusions are that the importance of some rural activities has been greatly underestimated, whilst the interaction of so many factors creates an intricate pattern of rural life impossible to capture in a single definition.



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.