Can Future Uncertainty Keep Children Out of School?
AbstractThere is little doubt in the literature, that poverty and liquidity constraints can drive children out of school and into child labour in developing countries. But are there other important explanations for low primary school enrolment rates? The child labour and schooling literature often ignores that uncertainty about future returns results in a need for risk diversification, that children function as old-age security providers when there are no available pension systems, that the human capital investment decision of one child is likely to be influenced by that of his/her siblings, and that rural parents face a choice of investing in either specific or general human capital of their children. In this paper, I investigate the effects of future income uncertainty on the joint human capital investment decision of children in a household. I develop and calibrate a simple illustrative human capital portfolio model and show that existing levels of uncertainty can indeed result in less than full school enrolment within a household, even in a world of perfect credit markets. The paper thus offers an alternative explanation for why it might be optimal for rural parents not to send all of their children to school.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Applied Microeconometrics in its series CAM Working Papers with number 2008-06.
Length: 39 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2008
Date of revision:
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More information through EDIRC
schooling; child labour; specific human capital; traditional education; intergenerational transfers; old-age security; uncertainty; income source diversification; liquidity constraints;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
- J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
- O15 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2008-08-14 (All new papers)
- NEP-DEV-2008-08-14 (Development)
- NEP-EDU-2008-08-14 (Education)
- NEP-HAP-2008-08-14 (Economics of Happiness)
- NEP-HRM-2008-08-14 (Human Capital & Human Resource Management)
- NEP-LAB-2008-08-14 (Labour Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Ranjan, P., 1999.
""Credit Constraints and the Phenomenon of Child Labor","
98-99-12, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
- Ranjan, Priya, 2001. "Credit constraints and the phenomenon of child labor," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 81-102, February.
- Barrett, C. B. & Reardon, T. & Webb, P., 2001. "Nonfarm income diversification and household livelihood strategies in rural Africa: concepts, dynamics, and policy implications," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 315-331, August.
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