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