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Child labor, agricultural shocks and labor sharing in rural Ethiopia

The author studies the effect of an agricultural shock and a labor sharing arrangement (informal social network) on child labor. Albeit bad parental preference to child labor (as the strand of literature claims), poor households face compelling situations to send their child to work. This is, especially, true when they are hit by an income shock and face a binding adult labor constraint. The author used panel data from the ERHS and employed a fixed effects model to pin down causal relation between shocks, membership in a labor sharing arrangement and child labor. It was found that child labor is, indeed, a buffer stock. Though a labor sharing arrangement doesn't affect child labor at normal times, it helps households to lessen the pressure to rely on it when hit by idiosyncratic shocks. While almost the whole effect of these shocks is offset by participation in a labor sharing arrangement, the covariate shock is not. Even if this may well affect a child's academic performance, school attendance doesn't decrease. This differential effect of shocks on child labor in participant households might be because of the extra adult labor made available or due to mutual support that comes with these social networks. This paper is indicative of the importance of considering social networks in smoothing out consumption. Further, it highlights the difficulty to cope up with covariate shocks and hence, calls for development interventions that are particularly meant to address their impact.

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Paper provided by International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS), The Hague in its series ISS Working Papers - General Series with number 18702.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ems:euriss:18702
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  1. Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1988. "Risk, Implicit Contracts and the Family in Rural Areas of Low-income Countries," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 98(393), pages 1148-70, December.
  2. Anjini Kochar, 1999. "Smoothing Consumption by Smoothing Income: Hours-of-Work Responses to Idiosyncratic Agricultural Shocks in Rural India," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(1), pages 50-61, February.
  3. Basu, Kaushik, 1998. "Child labor : cause, consequence, and cure, with remarks on International Labor Standards," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2027, The World Bank.
  4. Irineu E de Carvalho Filho, 2008. "Household Income As A Determinant of Child Labor and School Enrollment in Brazil; Evidence From A Social Security Reform," IMF Working Papers 08/241, International Monetary Fund.
  5. Admassie, Assefa, 2002. "Allocation Of Children'S Time Endowment Between Schooling And Work In Rural Ethiopia," Discussion Papers 18716, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF).
  6. Pramila Krishnan & Emanuela Sciubba, 2009. "Links and Architecture in Village Networks," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(537), pages 917-949, 04.
  7. Ranjan, Priya, 1999. "An economic analysis of child labor," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 99-105, July.
  8. 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.
  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. Robert M. Townsend, 1995. "Consumption Insurance: An Evaluation of Risk-Bearing Systems in Low-Income Economies," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 83-102, Summer.
  11. 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.
  12. Stefan Dercon, 2000. "Income risk, coping strategies and safety nets," CSAE Working Paper Series 2000-26, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  13. Sawada, Yasayuki & Lokshin, Michael, 2001. "Household schooling decisions in rural Pakistan," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2541, The World Bank.
  14. Denis Cogneau & Remi Jedwab, 2008. "Family Income and Child Outcomes:The 1990 Cocoa Price Shock in Cote d'Ivoire," CEDI Discussion Paper Series 08-13, Centre for Economic Development and Institutions(CEDI), Brunel University.
  15. Calero, C. & Bedi, A.S. & Sparrow, R.A., 2008. "Remittances, liquidity constraints and human capital investments in Ecuador," ISS Working Papers - General Series 18735, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS), The Hague.
  16. Sonia Bhalotra & Christopher Heady, 2003. "Child Farm Labor: The Wealth Paradox," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 17(2), pages 197-227, December.
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