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How children’s schooling and work is affected when their father leaves permanently: Evidence from Colombia

  • Fitzsimons, Emla
  • Mesnard, Alice
Registered author(s):

    This paper investigates how the permanent departure of the father from the household affects children’s school enrolment and work participation in rural Colombia. Our results show that departure of the father decreases children’s school enrolment by around 4 percentage points, and increases child labour by 3 percentage points. After using household fixed effects to deal with time-invariant unobserved heterogeneity, and providing evidence suggesting strongly that estimates are not biased by time varying unobserved heterogeneity, we also exploit an interesting feature of our setting, a conditional cash transfer programme in place, and show that it counteracts the adverse effects. This, and other pieces of evidence we give, strongly suggests that the channel through which departure affects children is through reducing income. It also highlights the important safety net role played by such welfare programmes, in particular for very disadvantaged households, who are unlikely to find formal or informal ways of insuring themselves against such vagaries.

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    Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8886.

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    Date of creation: Mar 2012
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8886
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    1. de Janvry, Alain & Finan, Frederico & Sadoulet, Elisabeth & Vakis, Renos, 2006. "Can conditional cash transfer programs serve as safety nets in keeping children at school and from working when exposed to shocks?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 349-373, April.
    2. Dammert, Ana C., 2008. "Child labor and schooling response to changes in coca production in rural Peru," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 164-180, April.
    3. Seth R. Gitter & James Manley & Bradford Barham, 2011. "The Coffee Crisis, Early Childhood Development, and Conditional Cash Transfers," Research Department Publications 4715, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    4. Duryea, Suzanne & Lam, David & Levison, Deborah, 2007. "Effects of economic shocks on children's employment and schooling in Brazil," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 188-214, September.
    5. Orazio Attanasio & Emla Fitzsimons & Ana Gomez & Martha Isabel Gutiérrez & Costas Meghir & Alice Mesnard, 2006. "Child education and work choices in the presence of a conditional cash transfer programme in rural Colombia," IFS Working Papers W06/13, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    6. Yamano, Takashi & Jayne, Thom S., 2004. "Working-Age Adult Mortality and Primary School Attendance in Rural Kenya," Working Papers 202631, Egerton University, Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy and Development.
    7. Bell, Clive & Bruhns, Ramona & Gersbach, Hans, 2006. "Economic growth, education, and AIDS in Kenya : a long-run analysis," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4025, The World Bank.
    8. Jacoby, Hanan G & Skoufias, Emmanuel, 1997. "Risk, Financial Markets, and Human Capital in a Developing Country," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(3), pages 311-35, July.
    9. Flore Gubert & Anne-Sophie Robilliard, 2008. "Risk and Schooling Decisions in Rural Madagascar: A Panel Data-Analysis," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 17(2), pages 207-238, March.
    10. Beegle, Kathleen & Dehejia, Rajeev H. & Gatti, Roberta, 2006. "Child labor and agricultural shocks," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 80-96, October.
    11. Paul Gertler & David I. Levine & Minnie Ames, 2003. "Schooling and Parental Death," HEW 0303001, EconWPA.
    12. Seth Richard Gitter & Bradford Barham, 2009. "Conditional Cash Transfers, Shocks, and School Enrolment in Nicaragua," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(10), pages 1747-1767.
    13. 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.
    14. Jonathan Gruber, 2004. "Is Making Divorce Easier Bad for Children? The Long-Run Implications of Unilateral Divorce," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(4), pages 799-834, October.
    15. Anne Case & Christina Paxson & Joseph Ableidinger, 2004. "Orphans in Africa: Parental Death, Poverty and School Enrollment," Working Papers 183, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
    16. Evans, David & Miguel, Edward A., 2005. "Orphans and Schooling in Africa: A Longitudinal Analysis," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt14w3s2fh, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
    17. Ravallion, Martin & Wodon, Quentin, 2000. "Does Child Labour Displace Schooling? Evidence on Behavioural Responses to an Enrollment Subsidy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages C158-75, March.
    18. Alice Mesnard, 2009. "Migration, violence and welfare programmes in rural Colombia," IFS Working Papers W09/19, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    19. Gordon B. Dahl & Enrico Moretti, 2008. "The Demand for Sons," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(4), pages 1085-1120.
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