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Are boys and girls affected differently when the household head leaves for good? Evidence from school and work choices in Colombia

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  • Emla Fitzsimons

    ()
    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

  • Alice Mesnard

    ()
    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

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    Abstract

    This paper investigates how the permanent departure of the head from the household, mainly due to death or divorce, affects children's school enrolment and work participation in rural Colombia. In our empirical specification we use household-level fixed effects to deal with the fact that households that experience the departure of the head are likely to differ in unobserved ways from those that do not, and we also address the issue of non-random attrition from the panel. We find remarkably different effects for boys and girls. For boys, the adverse event reduces school participation and increases participation in paid work, whereas for girls we find evidence of the adverse event having a beneficial impact on schooling. To explain these differences, we provide evidence for boys consistent with the head's departure having an important effect through the income reduction associated with it, whereas for girls, changes in the household decision-maker appear to play an important role.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Institute for Fiscal Studies in its series IFS Working Papers with number W08/11.

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    Date of creation: Nov 2008
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    Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:08/11

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    Related research

    Keywords: Child labour; schooling; adverse event; income loss; credit and insurance market failures; bargaining;

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    1. Skoufias, Emmanual & Parker, Susan W., 2002. "Labor market shocks and their impacts on work and schooling," FCND discussion papers 129, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    2. Dammert, Ana C., 2007. "Child Labor and Schooling Response to Changes in Coca Production in Rural Peru," IZA Discussion Papers 2869, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Beegle, Kathleen & Dehejia, Rajeev H. & Gatti, Roberta, 2006. "Child labor and agricultural shocks," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 80-96, October.
    4. Paul Gertler & David I. Levine & Minnie Ames, 2004. "Schooling and Parental Death," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 211-225, February.
    5. Edmonds, Eric V., 2006. "Child labor and schooling responses to anticipated income in South Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 386-414, December.
    6. Bell, Clive & Bruhns, Ramona & Gersbach, Hans, 2006. "Economic growth, education, and AIDS in Kenya : a long-run analysis," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4025, The World Bank.
    7. Beegle Kathleen & Joachim De Weerdt & Stefan Dercon, 2007. "Orphanhood and the long-run impact on children," CSAE Working Paper Series 2007-08, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    8. Lorenzo Guarcello & Fabrizia Mealli & Furio Rosati, 2010. "Household vulnerability and child labor: the effect of shocks, credit rationing, and insurance," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 169-198, January.
    9. Duryea, Suzanne & Lam, David & Levison, Deborah, 2007. "Effects of economic shocks on children's employment and schooling in Brazil," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 188-214, September.
    10. Hoddinott, John & Haddad, Lawrence, 1995. "Does Female Income Share Influence Household Expenditures? Evidence from Cote d'Ivoire," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 57(1), pages 77-96, February.
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