Why Children Work, Attend School, or Stay Idle: The Roles of Ability and Household Wealth
This paper offers a theoretical and empirical analysis of child labor, schooling, and idleness (neither work nor school), with particular emphasis on the roles of child ability and household wealth in determining these decisions. We show theoretically that â€œidlenessâ€ may be chosen optimally by low-income households whose child is of low ability. Using a rich data set from the Philippines, we find that while other factorsâ€”including motherâ€™s labor supply, the presence of a family business, and access to good school qualityâ€”contribute to these decisions, child ability and household wealth are the most important determinants of child idleness and the use of child labor. An implication of our findings is that any policy aiming to reduce child labor and increase child schooling should also target improvements in child ability and cognitive development through investments in the nutrition and health of poor children.
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Volume (Year): 56 (2008)
Issue (Month): ()
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- M.Biggeri & L.Guarcello & S.Lyon & F.Rosati, 2003. "The Puzzle of 'Idle' Children: Neither in School nor performing Economic Activity: Evidence from six Countries," UCW Working Paper 5, Understanding Children's Work (UCW Programme).
- Edmonds, Eric V., 2006. "Child labor and schooling responses to anticipated income in South Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 386-414, December.
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