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How children's schooling and work are affected when their father leaves permanently: evidence from Colombia

Author

Listed:
  • Emla Fitzsimons

    () (Institute for Fiscal Studies and Institute of Education, University of London)

  • Alice Mesnard

    () (Institute for Fiscal Studies and City University London)

Abstract

This paper investigates how the permanent departure of the father from the household affects children's school enrolment and work participation in rural Colombia. Our results show that departure of the father decreases children's school enrolment by around 4 percentage points, and increases child labour by 3 percentage points. After using household fixed effects to deal with time-invariant unobserved heterogeneity, and providing evidence suggesting strongly that estimates are not biased by time varying unobserved heterogeneity, we also exploit an interesting feature of our setting, a conditional cash transfer programme in place, and show that it counteracts the adverse effects. This, and other pieces of evidence we give, strongly suggests that the channel through which departure affects children is through reducing income. It also highlights the important safety net role played by such welfare programmes, in particular for very disadvantaged households, who are unlikely to find formal or informal ways of insuring themselves against such vagaries.

Suggested Citation

  • Emla Fitzsimons & Alice Mesnard, 2012. "How children's schooling and work are affected when their father leaves permanently: evidence from Colombia," IFS Working Papers W12/04, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:12/04
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Child labour; Schooling; Permanent departure; Income loss; Credit and insurance market failures; Conditional cash transfer; Safety net.;

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance

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