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Child labor and schooling in Africa : a comparative study

  • Canagarajah, Sudharshan
  • Nielsen, Helena Skyt

This paper analyzes the determinants of child labor in Africa as inferred from recent empirical studies. The empirical analysis is based upon three country studies undertaken in three different African countries, namely Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, and Zambia. Some support is found for the popular belief of poverty as a determinant of child labor, however other determinants are of similar importance. Among school costs, transportation costs have the greatest effect on child labor and school attendance, whereas the hypothesis of imperfect capital markets and that of household composition generally find some support. Section 2 examines contributions, which explain child labor from the standpoint of economics literature, and derives three specific hypotheses to be tested in the empirical analysis. Section 3 presents some empirical evidence of the extent and the determinants of child labor and school attendance in Africa. The three hypotheses are tested based on evidence from the three African countries. Section 4 concludes with a discussion of the policy implications of the analysis, and puts the findings in perspective of the challenge of developing effective policy interventions.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Social Protection Discussion Papers with number 20456.

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Date of creation: 31 Jul 1999
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:hdnspu:20456
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