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Child Work and Schooling Costs in Rural Northern India

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  • Hazarika, Gautam

    ()
    (University of Texas at Brownsville)

  • Bedi, Arjun S.

    ()
    (ISS, Erasmus University Rotterdam)

Abstract

It is widely held that work by children obstructs schooling, so that working children in impoverished families will find it difficult to escape poverty. If children’s school attendance and work were highly substitutable activities, it would be advisable to quell work in the interest of schooling and, if less child work were desirable for its own sake, to boost school attendance so as to reduce child work. Hence, this article examines the effects of schooling costs upon both children’s propensities to work and to attend school in rural northern India in a bid to assess the extent of trade-off between the activities. Analyses of data from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, two Northern Indian states, reveal a positive relation between child work and schooling costs, a negative relation between school enrollment and schooling costs, and that the decrease in the probability of child work from a decrease in schooling costs is comparable in magnitude to the corresponding increase in the probability of school enrollment, implying children’s work and school attendance are strongly substitutable activities. Thus, unlike recent studies of child work in India’s South Asian neighbors of Bangladesh and Pakistan, this paper uncovers evidence of substantial trade-off between child work and school attendance.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2136.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: May 2006
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Ravi Kanbur and Jan Svejnar (eds.), Labor Markets and Economic Development, Routledge, 2009
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2136

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Keywords: child labor; schooling costs; India;

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References

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  1. Basu, Kaushik & Van, Pham Hoang, 1998. "The Economics of Child Labor," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 412-27, June.
  2. Ravallion, Martin & Wodon, Quentin, 1999. "Does child labor displace schooling? - evidence on behavioral responses to an enrollment subsidy," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2116, The World Bank.
  3. Gautam Hazarika & Arjun Bedi, 2003. "Schooling Costs and Child Work in Rural Pakistan," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(5), pages 29-64.
  4. Binder, Melissa & Scrogin, David, 1999. "Labor Force Participation and Household Work of Urban Schoolchildren in Mexico: Characteristics and Consequences," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(1), pages 123-54, October.
  5. Swaminathan, Madhura, 1998. "Economic growth and the persistence of child labor: Evidence from an Indian city," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 26(8), pages 1513-1528, August.
  6. Canagarajah, Sudharshan & Nielsen, Helena Skyt, 1999. "Child labor and schooling in Africa : a comparative study," Social Protection Discussion Papers 20456, The World Bank.
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Cited by:
  1. F. Blanco, 2007. "Children's work in Angola: an overview," UCW Working Paper 38, Understanding Children's Work (UCW Programme).
  2. Lin, Tin-chi & Adsera, Alicia, 2012. "Son Preference and Children's Housework: The Case of India," IZA Discussion Papers 6929, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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