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Working and Studying in Rural Latin America: Critical Decisions of Adolescence

  • Lorena Alcazar
  • Silvio Rendon
  • Erik Wachtenheim

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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Paper provided by Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department in its series Research Department Publications with number 3162.

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Date of creation: Aug 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:idb:wpaper:3162
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  1. Lopez-Valcarcel, Beatriz Gonzalez & Quintana, Delia Davila, 1998. "Economic and Cultural Impediments to University Education in Spain," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 93-103, February.
  2. David Abler & Jose S. Rodriguez & Héctor Robles, 1998. "The allocation of children's time in Mexico and Peru," Informes / Reports inf199801, Departamento de Economía - Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú.
  3. Charles Diamond & Tammy Fayed, 1998. "Evidence on substitutability of adult and child labour," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(3), pages 62-70.
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  8. Jacoby, Hanan G, 1994. "Borrowing Constraints and Progress through School: Evidence from Peru," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(1), pages 151-60, February.
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  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Karnit Flug & Antonio Spilimbergo & Erik Wachtenheim, 1996. "Investment in Education: Do Economic Volatility and Credit Constraints Matter?," Research Department Publications 4000, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  13. Michael P. Keane & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 1995. "The career decisions of young men," Working Papers 559, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  14. Stern, David & Paik, IL-Woo & Catterali, James S. & Nakata, Yoshi-Fumi, 1989. "Labor market experience of teenagers with and without high school diplomas," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 233-246, June.
  15. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Evenson, Robert E, 1977. "Fertility, Schooling, and the Economic Contribution of Children in Rural India: An Econometric Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(5), pages 1065-79, July.
  16. David A. Kodde & Jozef M. M. Ritzen, 1988. "Direct and Indirect Effects of Parental Education Level on the Demand for Higher Education," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 23(3), pages 356-371.
  17. Lawrence F. Katz & Kevin M. Murphy, 1991. "Changes in Relative Wages, 1963-1987: Supply and Demand Factors," NBER Working Papers 3927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Canagarajah, Sudharshan & Coulombe, Harold, 1997. "Child labor and schooling in Ghana," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1844, The World Bank.
  19. Yoram Ben-Porath, 1967. "The Production of Human Capital and the Life Cycle of Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 352.
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