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How children's schooling and work are affected when their father leaves permanently: evidence from 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 father from the household affects children's school enrolment and work participation in rural Colombia. Our results show that departure of the father decreases children's school enrolment by around 4 percentage points, and increases child labour by 3 percentage points. After using household fixed effects to deal with time-invariant unobserved heterogeneity, and providing evidence suggesting strongly that estimates are not biased by time varying unobserved heterogeneity, we also exploit an interesting feature of our setting, a conditional cash transfer programme in place, and show that it counteracts the adverse effects. This, and other pieces of evidence we give, strongly suggests that the channel through which departure affects children is through reducing income. It also highlights the important safety net role played by such welfare programmes, in particular for very disadvantaged households, who are unlikely to find formal or informal ways of insuring themselves against such vagaries.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Institute for Fiscal Studies in its series IFS Working Papers with number W12/04.

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    Date of creation: Mar 2012
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    Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:12/04

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    Related research

    Keywords: Child labour; Schooling; Permanent departure; Income loss; Credit and insurance market failures; Conditional cash transfer; Safety net.;

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    References

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    1. Seth Gitter & James Manley & Brad Barham, 2011. "The Coffee Crisis, Early Childhood Development, and Conditional Cash Transfers," IDB Publications 37898, Inter-American Development Bank.
    2. Paul Gertler & David I. Levine & Minnie Ames, 2003. "Schooling and Parental Death," HEW 0303001, EconWPA.
    3. Takashi Yamano & Thomas S. Jayne, 2005. "Working-age Adult Mortality and Primary Sschool Attendance in Rural Kenya," Development and Comp Systems 0502017, EconWPA.
    4. Attanasio, Orazio & Fitzsimons, Emla & Gomez, Ana & Lopez, Diana & Meghir, Costas & Mesnard, Alice, 2006. "Child Education and Work Choices in the Presence of a Conditional Cash Transfer Programme in Rural Colombia," CEPR Discussion Papers 5792, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Flore Gubert & Anne-Sophie Robilliard, 2006. "Risk and Schooling Decisions in Rural Madagascar: a Panel Data Analysis," Working Papers DT/2006/08, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
    6. 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.
    7. Ravallion, Martin & Wodon, Quentin, 2000. "Does Child Labour Displace Schooling? Evidence on Behavioural Responses to an Enrollment Subsidy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages C158-75, March.
    8. Dammert, Ana C., 2008. "Child labor and schooling response to changes in coca production in rural Peru," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 164-180, April.
    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. Seth Richard Gitter & Bradford Barham, 2009. "Conditional Cash Transfers, Shocks, and School Enrolment in Nicaragua," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(10), pages 1747-1767.
    11. 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.
    12. de Janvry, Alain & Finan, Frederico & Sadoulet, Elisabeth & Vakis, Renos, 2006. "Can conditional cash transfer programs serve as safety nets in keeping children at school and from working when exposed to shocks?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 349-373, April.
    13. David Evans & Edward Miguel, 2007. "Orphans and schooling in africa: a longitudinal analysis," Demography, Springer, vol. 44(1), pages 35-57, February.
    14. Skoufias, Emmanual & Parker, Susan W., 2002. "Labor market shocks and their impacts on work and schooling," FCND briefs 129, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    15. 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.
    16. Gordon B. Dahl & Enrico Moretti, 2008. "The Demand for Sons," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(4), pages 1085-1120.
    17. van de Walle, Dominique, 2011. "Lasting welfare effects of widowhood in a poor country," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5734, The World Bank.
    18. repec:bla:restud:v:75:y:2008:i:4:p:1085-1120 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. 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.
    20. 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.
    21. Jonathan Gruber, 2004. "Is Making Divorce Easier Bad for Children? The Long-Run Implications of Unilateral Divorce," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(4), pages 799-834, October.
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