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

  • Emla Fitzsimons

    ()

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

  • Alice Mesnard

    ()

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

Registered author(s):

    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.

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    File URL: http://www.ifs.org.uk/wps/wp1204.pdf
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    Paper provided by Institute for Fiscal Studies in its series IFS Working Papers with number W12/04.

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    Date of creation: Mar 2012
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    Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:12/04
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    1. Stefan Dercon & Kathleen Beegle, 2007. "Orphanhood and the long-run impact on children," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2007-08, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    2. van de Walle, Dominique, 2011. "Lasting welfare effects of widowhood in a poor country," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5734, The World Bank.
    3. Paul Gertler & David I. Levine & Minnie Ames, 2003. "Schooling and Parental Death," HEW 0303001, EconWPA.
    4. Flore Gubert & Anne-Sophie Robilliard, 2008. "Risk and Schooling Decisions in Rural Madagascar: A Panel Data-Analysis," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 17(2), pages 207-238, March.
    5. 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.
    6. Skoufias, Emmanual & Parker, Susan W., 2002. "Labor market shocks and their impacts on work and schooling," FCND briefs 129, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    7. Duryea, Suzanne & Lam, David & Levison, Deborah, 2007. "Effects of economic shocks on children's employment and schooling in Brazil," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 188-214, September.
    8. repec:bla:restud:v:75:y:2008:i:4:p:1085-1120 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Gordon B. Dahl & Enrico Moretti, 2008. "The Demand for Sons," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(4), pages 1085-1120.
    10. de Janvry, Alain & Finan, Frederico & Sadoulet, Elisabeth & Vakis, Renos, 2006. "Can conditional cash transfer programs serve as safety nets in keeping children at school and from working when exposed to shocks?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 349-373, April.
    11. Yamano, Takashi & Jayne, T S, 2005. "Working-Age Adult Mortality and Primary School Attendance in Rural Kenya," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(3), pages 619-53, April.
    12. Jonathan Gruber, 2004. "Is Making Divorce Easier Bad for Children? The Long-Run Implications of Unilateral Divorce," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(4), pages 799-834, October.
    13. Lorenzo Guarcello & Fabrizia Mealli & Furio Rosati, 2010. "Household vulnerability and child labor: the effect of shocks, credit rationing, and insurance," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 169-198, January.
    14. Seth Gitter & James Manley & Brad Barham, 2011. "The Coffee Crisis, Early Childhood Development, and Conditional Cash Transfers," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 37898, Inter-American Development Bank.
    15. David Evans & Edward Miguel, 2007. "Orphans and schooling in africa: a longitudinal analysis," Demography, Springer, vol. 44(1), pages 35-57, February.
    16. Edmonds, Eric V., 2006. "Child labor and schooling responses to anticipated income in South Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 386-414, December.
    17. Dammert, Ana C., 2007. "Child Labor and Schooling Response to Changes in Coca Production in Rural Peru," IZA Discussion Papers 2869, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    18. Attanasio, Orazio & Fitzsimons, Emla & Gomez, Ana & Lopez, Diana & Meghir, Costas & Mesnard, Alice, 2006. "Child Education and Work Choices in the Presence of a Conditional Cash Transfer Programme in Rural Colombia," CEPR Discussion Papers 5792, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    19. Bell, Clive & Bruhns, Ramona & Gersbach, Hans, 2006. "Economic growth, education, and AIDS in Kenya : a long-run analysis," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4025, The World Bank.
    20. Seth Richard Gitter & Bradford Barham, 2009. "Conditional Cash Transfers, Shocks, and School Enrolment in Nicaragua," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(10), pages 1747-1767.
    21. 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.
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