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Social embedding as a solution to a control problem? Evidence from Vietnamese small business* - page 28 / 52





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older than 60 worked in the business. Most children under 15 did not. One-fourth of the

household members attended school. Of the 255 children aged 6 to 15 in the sampled

households, 16 percent worked in the business. Almost all also attended school, suggesting

that the use of child labor in family businesses did not seriously interfere with the children’s

educations. Most of those working in the business were not paid a cash salary. Eighteen

percent of the household members earned money outside the business (about two-thirds of

those did not work in the family business), suggesting a degree of risk pooling. The low

proportion of individuals performing work for someone else on the premises suggests that

among the respondents, there is a clear understanding of the concept “firm.” Adults (15

years or older) tended not to work in the business if they were older and more educated,

again, suggesting a degree of risk pooling. The number of employees did not seem to affect

their decisions but household adults tended to work in the firm if profits were higher.

(Table Four about here)

Because contact with household members occurs frequently, we used engaging in a

series of non-work activities in and away from the enterprise as measures of social

embeddedness. These activities were eating meals at the enterprise, resting or sleeping there,

socializing, and eating meals with household members away from the enterprise. Most

household members socialized and rested at the enterprise and ate both at the enterprise and

with household members outside the enterprise – but, as the figures in the bottom right of the

table indicate, those who worked in the business were significantly more likely to do each,

suggesting both that the common activity of maintaining a business helps strengthen family

ties and that such common activities are forms of in-kind payment. Children were heavily

embedded regardless of their work status.

(Table Five about here)


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