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Escolaridad y trabajo infantil: patrones y determinantes de la asignación del tiempo de niños y adolescentes en Lima Metropolitana


  • Jose Rodriguez

    () (Departamento de Economía - Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú)

  • Silvana Vargas



This research study analyzed the patterns of time allocation, in particular, the consequences of child labor on the accumulation of schooling among children and adolescents. Conceptually, the study departed from an interdisciplinary approach. From economy, we used Becker’s theoretical approach that focuses on intra-household strategies for resource allocation and incorporated the contributions of cultural anthropology, family psychology and sociology. Methodologically, the investigation had two stages. The first one, based on national household survey data, analyzed the evolution and trends of child labor and schooling during recent years. The second stage consisted of the analysis of primary information, quantitative and qualitative, and included household surveys, matrixes of time allocation, focus groups, photographic reconstructions and ethnographic work. Fieldwork was conducted in three sites in Metropolitan Lima which are characterized by high rates of "hazardous child labor": (i) Recycling of solid waste (Lomas de Carabayllo, Northern Lima), (ii) brick manufacture (Huachipa , Eastern Lima) and (iii) ambulatory trade (Market No. 1 "La Parada"). The results of secondary data evidenced that there is still a need for a standardized methodology for gathering information on child and adolescente labor. Data also showed that about one quarter of children aged 6 to 16 had direct involvement in some family income generating activity. The evidence also suggested that in this same age group, the vast majority attended school (i.e., even those who are part of the workforce). This might indicate that there is not a clear conflict between school attendance and work. Moreover, fieldwork results suggested that the participation rate of children and adolescents is higher than 65% in all activities. Recreational activities and schooling are those that reported greater involvement (84.5% and 83.1% respectively), followed by labor and domestic ones (69.6% and 66.9% respectively). In that sense, the allocation of time among school activities would be in strong competition with the others. Also, those who only work, like those who work and study, spend the highest proportion of their time working. However, in this case, the allocation is over twice as intense. The time spent on educational activities (e.g., read, write or study) is zero. On the other hand, when reconstructing the 24-hour routines, the results reinforced what was found – There is an increased pressure on the 4 time of children and adolescents that only work who, in addition to having a more active day, are the ones who get less rest on average. Finally, based on the results, it was concluded that: (i) Education and participation in economic activities are complementary activities in terms of allocation of time, (ii) competition in the allocation of time puts pressure on the quality of educational outcomes, (iii) there are still differences by gender and (iv) the use of mixed research techniques facilitates obtaining more complex explanations. Also, based on the findings, it is recommended to: (i) Emphasize the implementation of conditional cash transfers’ programs (ii) generate and consolidate existing information systems, (iii) promote joint interventions in alliance with other actors and (iv) facilitate spaces for the dissemination of research results.

Suggested Citation

  • Jose Rodriguez & Silvana Vargas, 2008. "Escolaridad y trabajo infantil: patrones y determinantes de la asignación del tiempo de niños y adolescentes en Lima Metropolitana," Documentos de Trabajo / Working Papers 2008-265, Departamento de Economía - Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú.
  • Handle: RePEc:pcp:pucwps:wp00265

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    schooling; child labor; Peru;

    JEL classification:

    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education


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