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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. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Bhalotra, Sonia & Heady, Christopher, 2001. "Child farm labour : the wealth paradox," Social Protection Discussion Papers 24088, The World Bank.
  4. Basu, Kaushik, 1998. "Child labor : cause, consequence, and cure, with remarks on International Labor Standards," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2027, The World Bank.
  5. Pramila Krishnan & Emanuela Sciubba, 2006. "Links and Architecture in Village Networks," Birkbeck Working Papers in Economics and Finance 0614, Birkbeck, Department of Economics, Mathematics & Statistics.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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).
  9. 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.
  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. Ranjan, Priya, 1999. "An economic analysis of child labor," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 99-105, July.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Sawada, Yasayuki & Lokshin, Michael, 2001. "Household schooling decisions in rural Pakistan," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2541, The World Bank.
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