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The Impact of Child Labor and School Quality on Academic Achievement in Brazil

  • Bezerra, Márcio Eduardo G.

    (University of Sao Paulo)

  • Kassouf, Ana Lucia

    ()

    (University of Sao Paulo)

  • Arends-Kuenning, Mary P.

    ()

    (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

We analyze the impact of child labor on school achievement using Brazilian school achievement test data from the 2003 Sistema Nacional de Avaliação da Educação Básica (SAEB). We control for the endogeneity of child labor using instrumental variable techniques, where the instrumental variable is the average wage for unskilled male labor in the state. Using our preferred OLS estimates, we find that child labor causes a loss in students' school achievement. Children and adolescents who do not work have better school performance than students who work. Up to two hours of work per day do not have a statistically significant effect on school performance, but additional hours decrease student's achievement. Differences in work conditions affect school performance. For high school students in Portuguese, compared to students who have schooling as their only activity, students who work only at home score 4 percent lower on the tests. Those students who only work outside the house are worse off than those who only work within the house, with test scores decreasing by 5 percent. Students who work both inside and outside the house have the lowest test scores of all the working conditions, decreasing by up to 7 percent.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4062.

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Length: 47 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4062
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  1. Emerson, Patrick M. & Souza, André Portela, 2008. "Birth Order, Child Labor, and School Attendance in Brazil," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 36(9), pages 1647-1664, September.
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  8. Basu, Kaushik, 1998. "Child labor : cause, consequence, and cure, with remarks on International Labor Standards," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2027, The World Bank.
  9. Duryea, Suzanne & Arends-Kuenning, Mary, 2003. "School Attendance, Child Labor and Local Labor Market Fluctuations in Urban Brazil," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 31(7), pages 1165-1178, July.
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  13. Ana Lúcia Kassouf, 2001. "Trabalho infantil: escolaridade x emprego," Economia, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics], vol. 2(2), pages 549-586, July-Dece.
  14. Furio C. Rosati & Mariacristina Rossi, 2003. "Children's Working Hours and School Enrollment: Evidence from Pakistan and Nicaragua," CEIS Research Paper 25, Tor Vergata University, CEIS.
  15. Victoria Gunnarsson & Peter F. Orazem & Mario A. Sánchez, 2006. "Child Labor and School Achievement in Latin America," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 20(1), pages 31-54.
  16. Sonia Bhalotra, and Zafiris Tzannatos, 2003. "Child labor : what have we learnt?," Social Protection Discussion Papers 27872, The World Bank.
  17. Paul Glewwe, 2002. "Schools and Skills in Developing Countries: Education Policies and Socioeconomic Outcomes," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 436-482, June.
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  19. Patrick M. Emerson & Andre Portela Souza, 2002. "Bargaining over Sons and Daughters: Child Labor, School Attendance and Intra-Household Gender Bias in Brazil," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0213, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
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