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School Attendance, Child Labour, and Remittances from International Migration in El Salvador


  • Pablo Acosta


International migrant remittances can increase household budget and reduce liquidity constraint problems, generating consumption and investment opportunities for recipient households. In particular, remittances can enable investing in children's human capital and reduce child labour, key outcomes from the perspective of growth in a developing country. Using data for El Salvador, this article shows: a) a null or insignificant overall impact of remittances on schooling; b) a strong reduction of child wage labour in remittance-recipient households; and c) an increase in unpaid family work activities for children in those households. Moreover, the evidence shows important differences by gender and age of the child in consideration. While girls seem to indeed increase school attendance upon remittance receipts by reducing labour activities, boys do not benefit on average from higher schooling but some time substitution takes place favouring family work activities over paid jobs. And among secondary school-aged children, the impact of remittance may even be negative for educational prospects. These results suggest the presence of differences in the allocation of resources within the household.

Suggested Citation

  • Pablo Acosta, 2011. "School Attendance, Child Labour, and Remittances from International Migration in El Salvador," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(6), pages 913-936.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:47:y:2011:i:6:p:913-936
    DOI: 10.1080/00220388.2011.563298

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Botezat, Alina & Pfeiffer, Friedhelm, 2014. "The Impact of Parents Migration on the Well-being of Children Left Behind: Initial Evidence from Romania," IZA Discussion Papers 8225, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Francisca Antman, 2012. "Gender, educational attainment, and the impact of parental migration on children left behind," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 25(4), pages 1187-1214, October.
    3. Simone Bertoli & Francesca Marchetta, 2014. "Migration, Remittances and Poverty in Ecuador," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 50(8), pages 1067-1089, August.
    4. Masamune Iwasawa & Mitsuo Inada & Seiichi Fukui, 2014. "How Migrant Heterogeneity Influences the Effect of Remittances on Educational Expenditure:Empirical Evidence from the Cambodian Socio-Economic Survey," KIER Working Papers 898, Kyoto University, Institute of Economic Research.
    5. Beyene, Berhe Mekonnen, 2012. "The Effects of International Remittances on Poverty and Inequality in Ethiopia," Memorandum 13/2012, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    6. Francisca M. Antman, 2013. "The impact of migration on family left behind," Chapters,in: International Handbook on the Economics of Migration, chapter 16, pages 293-308 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    7. repec:spr:jopoec:v:30:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s00148-017-0641-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Sarma, Vengadeshvaran J. & Parinduri, Rasyad A., 2016. "What happens to children's education when their parents emigrate? Evidence from Sri Lanka," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 94-102.
    9. Köllner, Sebastian, 2013. "Remittances and educational attainment: Evidence from Tajikistan," Discussion Paper Series 124, Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg, Chair of Economic Order and Social Policy.
    10. Davis, Jason & Brazil, Noli, 2016. "Disentangling fathers’ absences from household remittances in international migration: The case of educational attainment in Guatemala," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 1-11.
    11. Javier Baez & German Caruso & Valerie Mueller & Chiyu Niu, 2017. "Droughts augment youth migration in Northern Latin America and the Caribbean," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 140(3), pages 423-435, February.
    12. Antman, Francisca M., 2018. "Women and Migration," IZA Discussion Papers 11282, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. Alem, Yonas & Maurel, Mathilde & Millock, Katrin, 2016. "Migration as an Adaptation Strategy to Weather Variability: An Instrumental Variables Probit Analysis," Working Papers in Economics 665, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    14. Koska, Onur A. & Saygin, Perihan Özge & Çağatay, Selim & Artal-Tur, Andrés, 2013. "International migration, remittances, and the human capital formation of Egyptian children," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 38-50.
    15. Amy Damon & Devon Kristiansen, 2014. "Childhood obesity in Mexico: the effect of international migration," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 45(6), pages 711-727, November.
    16. Bargain, Olivier & Boutin, Delphine, 2014. "Remittances and Child Labour in Africa: Evidence from Burkina Faso," IZA Discussion Papers 8007, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    17. repec:eee:chieco:v:46:y:2017:i:s:p:s77-s101 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. repec:eee:injoed:v:55:y:2017:i:c:p:11-16 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Adelman,Melissa Ann & Szekely,Miguel, 2016. "School dropout in Central America : an overview of trends, causes, consequences, and promising interventions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7561, The World Bank.
    20. Mohammad Reza Farzanegan & Sherif Maher Hassan & Ribal Abi Raad, 2017. "Causes and Impacts of Remittances: Household Survey Evidence from Egypt," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201737, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).

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