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Towards statistical standards for children’s non economic work: A discussion based on household survey data

  • L.Guarcello
  • S.Lyon
  • F.Rosati
  • C. Valdivia

The study forms part of a broader research effort directed towards arriving eventually at an internationally acceptable consensus on the statistical definition of child labour. It looks specifically at children’s non-market activity, its classification (i.e., economic or non-economic), its impact on health and education outcomes, and at some of the issues linked to the inclusion of non-market activity in the definition of child labour. Study findings do not point to any clear causal relationship between hours in non-market activity and health status. But it was pointed out that the relationship between child work and health is very difficult to capture, both for theoretical reasons and because of lack of appropriate data, and that this finding should therefore be interpreted with caution. Findings based on panel data for China do, however, reveal a significant (negative) causal link between hours spend on non-market work and school attendance in the Chinese context. For additional countries where panel data was lacking, an experimental approach is presented for developing an "equivalence ratio", i.e., for combining hours spent on market and non-market activity based on the relative impact of each on children’s schooling. The equivalence ratio of the educational effect of market and non-market activity is found to vary substantially with the number of hours spent in each. It increased with the numbers of hours spent in non-market activity and decreased with the number of hours spent in market activities. This points to the complexity of using such an equivalence ratio for the purpose of a comprehensive definition of child labour.

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Paper provided by Understanding Children's Work (UCW Programme) in its series UCW Working Paper with number 16.

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Date of creation: May 2005
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Handle: RePEc:ucw:worpap:16
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  1. Ranjan, Priya, 2001. "Credit constraints and the phenomenon of child labor," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 81-102, February.
  2. Dirk Krueger & Jessica Tjornhom Donohue, 2007. "On The Distributional Consequences Of Child Labor Legislation," Working Papers id:975, eSocialSciences.
  3. Eisner, Robert, 1989. "The Total Incomes System of Accounts," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226196381, March.
  4. Matthias Doepke & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2005. "The macroeconomics of child labor regulation," Staff Report 354, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  5. Moehling, Carolyn M., 1999. "State Child Labor Laws and the Decline of Child Labor," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 72-106, January.
  6. 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.
  7. Pushkar Maitra & Ranjan Ray, 2000. "The Joint Estimation of Child Participation in Schooling and Employment: Comparative Evidence from Three Continents," ASARC Working Papers 2000-04, The Australian National University, Australia South Asia Research Centre.
  8. Eric V. Edmonds & Nina Pavcnik, 2005. "Child Labor in the Global Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(1), pages 199-220, Winter.
  9. Toniolo Gianni, 2003. "La storia economica dell'Italia liberale: una rivoluzione in atto," Rivista di storia economica, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 3, pages 247-264.
  10. Cigno, Alessandro & Rosati, Furio Camillo, 2005. "The Economics of Child Labour," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199264452, March.
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