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

Author

Listed:
  • Fitzsimons, Emla
  • Mesnard, Alice

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Fitzsimons, Emla & Mesnard, Alice, 2012. "How children’s schooling and work is affected when their father leaves permanently: Evidence from Colombia," CEPR Discussion Papers 8886, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8886
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Alice Mesnard, 2009. "Migration, violence and welfare programmes in rural Colombia," IFS Working Papers W09/19, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    2. repec:pri:rpdevs:case_paxson_orphansafrica is not listed on IDEAS
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Gordon B. Dahl & Enrico Moretti, 2008. "The Demand for Sons," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(4), pages 1085-1120.
    6. Seth Gitter & James Manley & Brad Barham, 2011. "The Coffee Crisis, Early Childhood Development, and Conditional Cash Transfers," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 3111, Inter-American Development Bank.
    7. repec:dau:papers:123456789/4372 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Yamano, Takashi & Jayne, T S, 2005. "Working-Age Adult Mortality and Primary School Attendance in Rural Kenya," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(3), pages 619-653, April.
    9. Hanan G. Jacoby & Emmanuel Skoufias, 1997. "Risk, Financial Markets, and Human Capital in a Developing Country," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(3), pages 311-335.
    10. Anne Case & Christina Paxson & Joseph Ableidinger, 2004. "Orphans in Africa: parental death, poverty, and school enrollment," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 41(3), pages 483-508, August.
    11. 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.
    12. 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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    14. 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 158-175, March.
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    16. 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.
    17. 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.
    18. repec:pri:cheawb:case_paxson_orphansafrica is not listed on IDEAS
    19. 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.
    20. 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.
    21. Orazio Attanasio & Emla Fitzsimons & Ana Gómez & 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.
    22. 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.
    23. Lorenzo Guarcello & Fabrizia Mealli & Furio Rosati, 2010. "Household vulnerability and child labor: the effect of shocks, credit rationing, and insurance," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 23(1), pages 169-198, January.
    24. 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.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    child labour; conditional cash transfer; credit and insurance market failures; income loss; permanent departure; safety net; schooling;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance

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