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Cash Transfers and Child Labor

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  • Jacobus de Hoop
  • Furio C. Rosati

Abstract

Cash transfer programs are widely used in settings where child labor is prevalent. Although many of these programs are explicitly implemented to improve children's welfare, in theory their impact on child labor is undetermined. This paper systematically reviews the empirical evidence on the impact of cash transfers, conditional and unconditional, on child labor. We find no evidence that cash transfer interventions increase child labor in practice. On the contrary, there is broad evidence that conditional and unconditional cash transfers lower both children's participation in child labor and their hours worked and that these transfers cushion the effect of economic shocks that may lead households to use child labor as a coping strategy. Boys experience particularly strong decreases in economic activities, whereas girls experience such decreases in household chores. Our findings underline the usefulness of cash transfers as a relatively safe policy instrument to improve child welfare but also point to knowledge gaps, for instance regarding the interplay between cash transfers and other interventions, that should be addressed in future evaluations to provide detailed policy advice.

Suggested Citation

  • Jacobus de Hoop & Furio C. Rosati, 2014. "Cash Transfers and Child Labor," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 29(2), pages 202-234.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:wbrobs:v:29:y:2014:i:2:p:202-234.
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    Cited by:

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    2. Zietz, Susannah & de Hoop, Jacobus & Handa, Sudhanshu, 2018. "The role of productive activities in the lives of adolescents: Photovoice evidence from Malawi," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 246-255.
    3. Karimli, Leyla & Ssewamala, Fred M. & Neilands, Torsten B. & Wells, Christine R. & Bermudez, Laura Gauer, 2019. "Poverty, economic strengthening, and mental health among AIDS orphaned children in Uganda: Mediation model in a randomized clinical trial," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 228(C), pages 17-24.
    4. Tilman Brück & Oscar Mauricio Díaz Botía & Neil T. N. Ferguson & Jérôme Ouédraogo & Zacharias Ziegelhöfer, 2019. "Assets for Alimentation? The Nutritional Impact of Assets-based Programming in Niger," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 55(S1), pages 55-74, December.
    5. Armando Barrientos & Daniele Malerba, 2020. "Social assistance and inclusive growth," International Social Security Review, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 73(3), pages 33-53, July.
    6. Dammert, Ana C. & de Hoop, Jacobus & Mvukiyehe, Eric & Rosati, Furio C., 2018. "Effects of public policy on child labor: Current knowledge, gaps, and implications for program design," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 104-123.
    7. Erten, Bilge & Keskin, Pinar, 2019. "Compulsory schooling for whom? The role of gender, poverty, and religiosity," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 187-203.
    8. Carla Canelas & Miguel Niño-Zarazúa, 2018. "Schooling and labour market impacts of Bolivia’s Bono Juancito Pinto," WIDER Working Paper Series 036, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    9. Furio C. Rosati, 2016. "Can cash transfers reduce child labor?," IZA World of Labor, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), pages 293-293, September.
    10. Del Carpio, Ximena V. & Loayza, Norman V. & Wada, Tomoko, 2016. "The Impact of Conditional Cash Transfers on the Amount and Type of Child Labor," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 33-47.
    11. Kozhaya, Mireille & Martinez Flores, Fernanda, 2020. "Schooling and child labor: Evidence from Mexico's full-time school program," Ruhr Economic Papers 851, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    12. Can Tang & Liqiu Zhao & Zhong Zhao, 2019. "Free Education Helps Combat Child Labor? The Effect of a Free Compulsory Education Reform in Rural China," Working Papers 2019-036, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    13. Abu-Hamad, Bassam & Jones, Nicola & Pereznieto, Paola, 2014. "Tackling children's economic and psychosocial vulnerabilities synergistically: How well is the Palestinian National Cash Transfer Programme serving Gazan children?," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(P2), pages 121-135.
    14. Hidayatina, Achsanah & Garces-Ozanne, Arlene, 2019. "Can cash transfers mitigate child labour? Evidence from Indonesia’s cash transfer programme for poor students in Java," World Development Perspectives, Elsevier, vol. 15(C), pages 1-1.
    15. Delprato, Marcos & Akyeampong, Kwame, 2019. "The effect of working on students’ learning in Latin America: Evidence from the learning survey TERCE," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 1-1.
    16. Silvio Daidone & Benjamin Davis & Sudhanshu Handa & Paul Winters, 2019. "The Household and Individual-Level Productive Impacts of Cash Transfer Programs in Sub-Saharan Africa," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 101(5), pages 1401-1431.
    17. Dwibedi, Jayanta Kumar & Chaudhuri, Sarbajit, 2014. "Agricultural subsidy policies fail to deal with child labour under agricultural dualism: What could be the alternative policies?," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 277-291.
    18. Carla Canelas & Miguel Niño-Zarazúa, 2018. "Schooling and labour market impacts of Bolivia's Bono Juancito Pinto," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2018-36, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

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    JEL classification:

    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • O20 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - General

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