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School Attendance and Child Labor - A Model of Collective Behavior

  • Strulik, Holger

This paper theoretically investigates how community approval or disapproval affects school attendance and child labor and how aggregate behavior of the community feeds back towards the formation and persistence of an anti- (or pro-) schooling norm. The proposed community-model continues to take aggregate and idiosyncratic poverty into account as an important driver of low school attendance and child labor. But it provides also an explanation for why equally poor villages or regions can display different attitudes towards schooling. Distinguishing between three different modes of child time allocation, school attendance, work, and leisure, the paper shows how the time costs of schooling and child labor productivity contribute to the existence of a locally stable anti-schooling norm. It proposes policies that effectively exploit the social dynamics and initiate a permanent escape from the anti-schooling equilibrium. An extension of the model explores how an education contingent subsidy paid to the poorest families of a community manages to initiate a bandwagon effect towards "education for all". The optimal mechanism design of such a targeted transfer program is investigated.

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Paper provided by Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät in its series Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) with number dp-441.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:han:dpaper:dp-441
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  1. Jeffrey R Kling & Jeffrey B Liebman & Lawrence F Katz, 2007. "Experimental Analysis of Neighborhood Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(1), pages 83-119, 01.
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  3. Thomas J. Nechyba, 2001. "Social Approval, Values, and AFDC: A Reexamination of the Illegitimacy Debate," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(3), pages 637-666, June.
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  7. Lalive, Rafael & Cattaneo, Maria Alejandra, 2006. "Social Interactions and Schooling Decisions," IZA Discussion Papers 2250, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  9. Munshi, Kaivan & Myaux, Jacques, 2006. "Social norms and the fertility transition," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 1-38, June.
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  12. Emmanuel Skoufias & Susan Wendy Parker, 2001. "Conditional Cash Transfers and Their Impact on Child Work and Schooling: Evidence from the PROGRESA Program in Mexico," ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION, ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION.
  13. Ravallion, Martin & Wodon, Quentin, 1999. "Does child labor displace schooling? - evidence on behavioral responses to an enrollment subsidy," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2116, The World Bank.
  14. Manski, Charles F, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(3), pages 531-42, July.
  15. Luis Felipe López Calva, 2002. "A social stigma model of child labor," Estudios Económicos, El Colegio de México, Centro de Estudios Económicos, vol. 17(2), pages 193-217.
  16. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce I. Sacerdote & Jose A. Scheinkman, 2002. "The Social Multiplier," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1968, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  17. Arnab K. Basu & Nancy H. Chau, 2004. "Exploitation of Child Labor and the Dynamics of Debt Bondage," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 9(2), pages 209-238, 06.
  18. Matthias Doepke & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2005. "The Macroeconomics of Child Labor Regulation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1492-1524, December.
  19. Gustavo J. Bobonis & Frederico Finan, 2009. "Neighborhood Peer Effects in Secondary School Enrollment Decisions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(4), pages 695-716, November.
  20. Rubiana Chamarbagwala, 2009. "Social interactions, spatial dependence, and children's activities: evidence from India," Journal of Developing Areas, Tennessee State University, College of Business, vol. 42(2), pages 157-178, January-M.
  21. Basu, Kaushik, 1998. "Child labor : cause, consequence, and cure, with remarks on International Labor Standards," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2027, The World Bank.
  22. Priya Ranjan, 2004. "Why Children Work, Attend School, or Stay Idle: Theory and Evidence," Econometric Society 2004 Australasian Meetings 362, Econometric Society.
  23. Basu, Kaushik & Van, Pham Hoang, 1998. "The Economics of Child Labor," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 412-27, June.
  24. George Psacharopoulos, 1997. "Child labor versus educational attainment Some evidence from Latin America," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 377-386.
  25. Jensen, P. & Nielsen, H.S., 1996. "Child Labour or School Attendance? Evidence from Zambia," Papers 96-14, Centre for Labour Market and Social Research, Danmark-.
  26. Jean-Marie Baland & James A. Robinson, 2000. "Is Child Labor Inefficient?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(4), pages 663-679, August.
  27. Paul Schultz, T., 2004. "School subsidies for the poor: evaluating the Mexican Progresa poverty program," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 199-250, June.
  28. Eliana Cardoso & Andre Portela Souza, 2004. "The Impact of Cash Transfers on Child Labor and School Attendance in Brazil," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0407, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
  29. M.Biggeri & L.Guarcello & S.Lyon & F.Rosati, 2003. "The Puzzle of 'Idle' Children: Neither in School nor performing Economic Activity: Evidence from six Countries," UCW Working Paper 5, Understanding Children's Work (UCW Programme).
  30. Louis Kaplow, 1991. "A Note on Taxation as Social Insurance for Uncertain Labor Income," NBER Working Papers 3708, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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