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Health Effects of Children's Work: Evidence from Vietnam

We test whether work in childhood impacts on health. We distinguish between urban and rural settings and focus on agricultural work, which is the dominant form of child work worldwide. We use a particularly rich two-wave panel data set – the 1993 and 1998 Vietnam Living Standards Surveys. The panel nature of the data and the availability of good instruments, makes it possible to correct for potential endogeneity arising from both unobservable heterogeneity and simultaneity. Instruments take the form of small area labour market and education conditions obtained from community surveys matched to individual records. We use two indicators of health – reported illness/injury and the body mass index. Both contemporaneous and longer-term effects of child work on health are examined. A variety of estimators and identification strategies are employed to deal with endogeneity. There is strong evidence of unobservable heterogeneity bias but little indication of simultaneity bias. In rural areas, we find no evidence of a contemporaneous impact of child work on health. However, there is evidence that work undertaken in rural settings during childhood raises the risk of illness five years later. In urban areas, there is some evidence that child work has a contemporaneous negative impact on health

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Paper provided by Understanding Children's Work (UCW Programme) in its series UCW Working Paper with number 2.

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Date of creation: Mar 2003
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Handle: RePEc:ucw:worpap:2
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  1. Richard H. Steckel, 1995. "Stature and the Standard of Living," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(4), pages 1903-1940, December.
  2. Edmonds, Eric V., 2008. "Child Labor," Handbook of Development Economics, Elsevier.
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  4. Hideo Akabayashi & George Psacharopoulos, 1999. "The trade-off between child labour and human capital formation: A Tanzanian case study," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(5), pages 120-140.
  5. George Psacharopoulos, 1997. "Child labor versus educational attainment Some evidence from Latin America," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 377-386.
  6. Christopher Heady, 2000. "What is the Effect of Child Labour on Learning Achievement? Evidence from Ghana," Papers inwopa00/7, Innocenti Working Papers.
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  9. Cigno, Alessandro & Rosati, Furio Camillo & Tzannatos, Zafiris, 2001. "Child labor, nutrition, and education in rural India : an economic analysis of parental choice and policy options," Social Protection Discussion Papers 24081, The World Bank.
  10. Immink, Maarten D. C. & Payongayong, Ellen, 1999. "Risk analysis of poor health and growth failure of children in the central highlands of Guatemala," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 48(8), pages 997-1009, April.
  11. Basu, Kaushik, 1998. "Child labor : cause, consequence, and cure, with remarks on International Labor Standards," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2027, The World Bank.
  12. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Evenson, Robert E, 1977. "Fertility, Schooling, and the Economic Contribution of Children in Rural India: An Econometric Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(5), pages 1065-79, July.
  13. Lahiri, Kajal & Schmidt, Peter, 1978. "On the Estimation of Triangular Structural Systems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(5), pages 1217-21, September.
  14. James P. Smith, 1999. "Healthy Bodies and Thick Wallets: The Dual Relation between Health and Economic Status," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 145-166, Spring.
  15. Grossman, Michael, 1972. "On the Concept of Health Capital and the Demand for Health," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(2), pages 223-55, March-Apr.
  16. Fentiman, Alicia & Hall, Andrew & Bundy, Don, 2001. "Health and cultural factors associated with enrolment in basic education: a study in rural Ghana," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 429-439, February.
  17. Robert William Fogel, 1993. "New Sources and New Techniques for the Study of Secular Trends in Nutritional Status, Health, Mortality, and the Process of Aging," NBER Historical Working Papers 0026, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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