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Revisiting the link between poverty and child labor - the Ghanaian experience

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  • Blunch, Niels-Hugo
  • Verner, Dorte

Abstract

The link between poverty, and child labor has traditionally been regarded as well established. But recent research has questioned the validity of this link, claiming that poverty is not a main determinant of child labor. Starting from the premise that child labor is not necessarily harmful, the authors analyze the determinants of harmful child labor, viewed as child labor that directly conflicts with children's accumulation of human capital, in an effort to identify the most vulnerable groups. Identifying these groups might enable policymakers to take appropriate action. The authors estimate the positive relationship between poverty, and child labor. Moreover, they find evidence of a gender gap in child labor, linked to poverty. Girls as a group (as well as across urban, rural, and poverty sub-samples) are consistently found to be more likely to engage in harmful child labor, than boys. This gender gap may reflect cultural norms (an issue that calls for further research). The incidence of child labor increases with age, especially forgirls. In Ghana, there are structural differences - across gender, between rural and urban locations, and across poverty quintiles of households - in the processes underlying child labor.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2488.

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Date of creation: 30 Nov 2000
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2488

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Related research

Keywords: Street Children; Youth and Governance; Children and Youth; Poverty Assessment; Labor Standards;

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  1. Easterly, William & Levine, Ross, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-50, November.
  2. Grootaert, Christiaan & Kanbur, Ravi, 1995. "Child labor : a review," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1454, The World Bank.
  3. Canagarajah, Sudharshan & Coulombe, Harold, 1997. "Child labor and schooling in Ghana," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1844, The World Bank.
  4. Nielsen, H.S., 1998. "Child Labor and School Attendance: Two Joint Decisions," Papers 98-15, Centre for Labour Market and Social Research, Danmark-.
  5. Basu, Kaushik & Van, Pham Hoang, 1998. "The Economics of Child Labor," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 412-27, June.
  6. Lavy, Victor, 1996. "School supply constraints and children's educational outcomes in rural Ghana," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 291-314, December.
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