Working and Studying in Rural Latin America: Critical Decisions of Adolescence
This paper evaluates the determinants of school attendance and work of rural adolescents between 10 and 18 years old in 1997-1998 for a sample of Latin American countries. Rural adolescents are quite disadvantaged relative to their urban counterparts. The share of rural adolescents studying while concurrently working part-time is significantly higher, household income is significantly lower, “supply-side” issues are an important factor in rural non-attendance, and to the extent that the educational attainment of the parents creates inter-generational persistence we find that rural youth are starting from a disadvantaged position. We present some statistical analysis that highlights these problems and also perform bivariate binary estimation to identify the determinants of these decisions. We find that for most countries critical determinants for making these choices are household income and parental education as well as household composition. Further, we find that there is evidence of a significant “trade-off” between working and studying. Finally, inter-generational factors allow for both a virtuous cycle and a vicious cycle.
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