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

  • Fitzsimons, Emla
  • Mesnard, Alice
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    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
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    Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8886
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    1. Robilliard, Anne-Sophie & Gubert, Flore, 2008. "Risk and Schooling Decisions in Rural Madagascar: a Panel Data Analysis," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/4372, Paris Dauphine University.
    2. 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.
    3. Paul Gertler & David I. Levine & Minnie Ames, 2004. "Schooling and Parental Death," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 211-225, February.
    4. Yamano, Takashi & Jayne, Thomas S., 2004. "Working-Age Adult Mortality and Primary School Attendance in Rural Kenya," Food Security Collaborative Working Papers 55159, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    5. Seth Gitter & James Manley & Brad Barham, 2011. "The Coffee Crisis, Early Childhood Development, and Conditional Cash Transfers," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 37898, Inter-American Development Bank.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. Gordon B. Dahl & Enrico Moretti, 2008. "The Demand for Sons," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(4), pages 1085-1120.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. Anne Case & Christina Paxson & Joseph Ableidinger, 2004. "Orphans in Africa: parental death, poverty, and school enrollment," Demography, Springer, vol. 41(3), pages 483-508, August.
    12. 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.
    13. 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.
    14. 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.
    15. 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.
    16. 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.
    17. Alice Mesnard, 2009. "Migration, violence and welfare programmes in rural Colombia," IFS Working Papers W09/19, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
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