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Child labor, school attendance and access to health care services by children: evidence from Ghana


  • Vincenzo Atella
  • Mariacristina Rossi


The paper develops a simple two-period model relating child labor, child school attendance and child health care access in LDCs showing that child labor is positively correlated to access to health care services. In fact, higher medical expenditure generates better health and, therefore, higher child productivity. Accumulation of human capital, which generates higher future utility, comes at the expense of current productivity and consumption. The optimal choice of child labor is such that the marginal benefit of schooling is equal to the marginal productivity of child labor, which is enhanced by additional medical expenditure. Under this theoretical set-up we expect medical expenditure and child labor to be positively correlated, with parents caring more for their children if they contribute to household income. We explore these relationships using a micro data set from Ghana LSS for the year 1999. Empirical results confirm the model theoretical predictions.

Suggested Citation

  • Vincenzo Atella & Mariacristina Rossi, 2010. "Child labor, school attendance and access to health care services by children: evidence from Ghana," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 178, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
  • Handle: RePEc:cca:wpaper:178

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Owen O'Donnell & Furio C. Rosati & Eddy van Doorslaer, 2005. "Health effects of child work: Evidence from rural Vietnam," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 18(3), pages 437-467, September.
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    More about this item


    Child labor; Health care demand; Human capital; Latent variables; multivariate Probit; Unobserved heterogeneity; LDCs;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy
    • J43 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Agricultural Labor Markets

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