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The responses of child labor, school enrollment, and grade repetition to the loss of parental earnings in Brazil, 1982-1999

  • Cortes Neri, Marcelo
  • Gustafsson-Wright, Emily
  • Sedlacek, Guilherme
  • Orazem, Peter F.

The authors evaluate the effects of idiosyncratic shocks to a father's income on his children's probability of dropping out of school, entering the labor market, or failing to advance to the next grade level. Their analysis uses a large rotating panel data set containing information on household income and child time use for households in six cities in Brazil between 1982 and 1999. They find that for children aged 10 to 15 in the poorest households, loss of earnings by the household head has adverse consequences on child time in school and chance of promotion, and that these children are more likely to enter employment. Children in higher-income households are not adversely affected. The presumption is that wealthier households can self-insure against income shocks or can borrow to smooth consumption in the face of adverse income shocks. In contrast, poor households must use other means, including child labor, to replace lost labor market earnings of adults in the household.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Social Protection Discussion Papers with number 32743.

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Date of creation: 01 May 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wbk:hdnspu:32743
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  1. Suzanne Duryea, 1998. "Children's Advancement Through School in Brazil: The Role of Transitory Shocks to Household Income," Research Department Publications 4124, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  2. Lam, David & Schoeni, Robert F, 1993. "Effects of Family Background on Earnings and Returns to Schooling: Evidence from Brazil," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(4), pages 710-40, August.
  3. Flug, Karnit & Spilimbergo, Antonio & Wachtenheim, Erik, 1998. "Investment in education: do economic volatility and credit constraints matter?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 465-481, April.
  4. Duryea, Suzanne & Lam, David & Levison, Deborah, 2007. "Effects of economic shocks on children's employment and schooling in Brazil," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 188-214, September.
  5. Eric V. Edmonds, 2007. "Child Labor," NBER Working Papers 12926, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Skoufias, Emmanual & Parker, Susan W., 2002. "Labor market shocks and their impacts on work and schooling," FCND discussion papers 129, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  7. Hanan G. Jacoby & Emmanuel Skoufias, 1998. "Testing Theories of Consumption Behavior Using Information on Aggregate Shocks: Income Seasonality and Rainfall in Rural India," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 80(1), pages 1-14.
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